Providence, RI- Brown University junior guard Sheila Dixon (Schenectady, NY) sank two free throws with nine seconds left on the clock in to give the Bears (6-4) a two-point edge over Vermont (6-3) en route to a 61-57 victory over the visiting Catamounts on Wednesday evening at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Senior co-captain Aileen Daniels, who was just two points shy of hitting her career-high with 18 points, led Brown's offense this evening, while senior co-captain Hannah Passafuime added 16 points to give the Bears three straight wins.
Vermont's Lauren Bushmann scored 12 of her 18 points in the first half as the Catamounts shot 42 percent from the field and lit up for 46 percent shooting from beyond the arc to gain a 32-26 lead over the Bears at halftime.
Brown's Daniels helped the offense with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first half, as the Bears were held to 32 percent shooting while going to 1-of-11 from the trey.
The Catamounts jumped to a 16-9 advantage with 9:46 remaining in the first half, and after a layup and a free throw by Bushmann, Vermont extended the score up to 21-11 with 8:04 on the clock.
Daniels answered with a jumper in the paint and converted the free throw after the foul to cut the deficit to seven, and Passafuime knocked in two free throws to bring Bruno within six at 5:49. A three pointer by Vermont's Lauren Wheeler pushed Vermont's lead back up to eight with 2:12 left in the half, but a layup by sophomore point guard Lauren Clarke with 33 seconds left cut Brown's deficit down to six heading into the locker room at the half, 32-26.
After the intermission, Daniels came out and hit a trey to cut the Bears' deficit to just three two minutes into the half, and after a Vermont turnover, Daniels came back down a put in a layup to bring Bruno within one, 36-35 at 17:35.
Dixon drove to the hoop and knocked in a jump shot to give the Bears their second lead of the night at 15:30. Then, Daniels put in a layup to give Brown a three-point edge over the Catamounts with 14:38 left in the game.
A Daniels layup gave the Bears a 50-49 lead with 6:04 remaining in the game, but the Catamounts evened the score with a free throw. Dixon then hit two straight baskets for the Bears to take a four-point edge, but Bushmann came down the floor with 58 seconds left and put in a layup to bring Vermont back within two.
Vermont fouled Brown to put Passafuime at the line, who made one of two shots to give Brown a 55-52 advantage with 47 seconds left, but Vermont's Wheeler sank two free throws to be back within one of the Bears.
Lauren Clarke dished the ball to Passafuime on the block for Brown to take back the three point lead with 21 seconds left. Vermont tied it back up, 57-57, with a trey by Tierra Shumpert.
Next, Dixon drove to the hole and drew the foul with just nine seconds left. Despite the pressure she drained both to put the Bears ahead for good, as Passafuime followed with two of her own with just a second remaining on the clock to give the Bears a 61-57 win over the Catamounts.
The win marked the first-ever win over Vermont, as the Catamounts led the all-time series, 3-0. Also adding to the offense tonight was Lauren Clarke with 11 points, Dixon with eight points and eight rebounds, and freshman Nelly Weledji with eight points and five rebounds. The Bears ended the game shooting 40 percent from the field, and went 50 percent in the second half. Brown was 11-for-15 from the charity stripe and forced Vermont into 19 turnovers.
Bushmann led Vermont with 18 points and six rebounds, followed by Tierra Shumpert with 15 points and five rebounds. The Catamounts shot 35 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Vermont out-rebounded the Bears 38-36, and went 11-of-16 from the free-throw line.
The Bears will now break for 21 days for finals and the holidays before traveling west to take on Dominican and San Jose State. Brown will tip-off vs. Dominican at 7 p.m. PST on Dec. 28, and will then play at San Jose State at 2 p.m. PST on Dec. 31.