Brown (0-0, 0-0 Ivy) vs. Lafayette (0-0, 0-0 Patriot League)
Sunday, Nov. 10 – 1 p.m.
Pizzitola Sports Center
Live Stream: Ivy League Digital Network
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Brown women's basketball team opens up its 40th season on Sunday versus Lafayette as part of a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Head Coach Jean Marie Burr's squad enters the 2013-14 campaign off of a 9-19 season in 2012-13.
The Bears welcome back leading scorer and Second Team All-Ivy honoree, Lauren Clarke (Colts Neck, N.J.), after a season in which she averaged 13.1 points per game. The senior co-captain started in all 28 games last season while taking home the team's Most Valuable Player Award. Clarke enters the 2013-14 season just 141 points shy of the 1,000-point plateau.
The Bears will also look to seniors Jordin Juker (Boise, Idaho) and Sophie Beutel (Toronto, Ont.) to provide leadership in the frontcourt. A co-captain, Juker, appeared in 25 games last season while averaging 1.8 points per game and a 76.5% free throw percentage. Beutel started six games for Brown last season, averaging 2.5 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game in just under 18 minutes of action.
"The captains and the entire senior class in general have done an excellent job in leadership thus far. It's up to our captains and senior leaders to push the team to compete on the level they need to compete at. We look to them to help keep the team focused during good times as well as the challenging times," said Head Coach Jean Marie Burr.
Junior guard Sophie Bikofsky (Newton, Mass.) and her 8.8 points per game look to bolster the offense in 2013-14. Bikofsky recorded career single-game highs in points (21), rebounds (10), and steals (4) last season as well as an 84.9 percentage from the line.
A 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, Natalie Ball (Orlando, Fla.) returns from an impressive freshman season in which she shot 30.1% from the field and earned the team's Most Improved Player Award while averaging just under 16 minutes per game.
The Bears will look to Ellise Sharpe (Tipp City, Ohio), Nelly Weledji (Overland Park, Kan.), Carly Wellington (Lake Oswego, Ore.), Jordin Alexander (Fishers, Ind.), and Jessica Eason (Mansfield, Mass.) to provide solid depth for the Brown lineup.
"I'm really looking for consistency this season, good balanced scoring, solid transition defense, and having the ability to run after a missed shot. Our goal is to put more points on the board with balanced scoring," said Burr.
The Bears will welcome four new faces into the fold this season, Emily Dinger (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Rebecca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y.), Christine Rush (Hinsdale, Ill.), and KJ Veldman (Spirit Lake, Iowa).
Dinger, a Second Team All-State and First Team WCAL selection in her senior season, helped lead Archbishop Mitty to three West Catholic Athletic League titles during her career.
Musgrove, a two-time captain of St. Anthony's High School, helped lead the team to three straight Lond Island CHSAA titles while recording a 62-5 league record as a starter. At the time of her departure, Musgrove was St. Anthony's all-time leader in points (1,384), rebounds (734), assists (548), and steals (521).
A three-time First Team All-Lakes Conference selection, Veldman ranked second in Class 3A scoring with 20.3 points per game as a senior. The Spirit Lake native earned All-State and Academic All-State honors from the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association and was also a McDonald's All-American nominee.
A junior, Christine Rush joins the 2013-14 edition of the Bears as a Wendy's High School Heisman winner at Hinsdale Central. As a team captain her senior season, Rush earned the team's Most Valuable Player award and garnered All-Conference honors while averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 steals per game.
Sunday's matchup marks the second consecutive season that Brown and Lafayette has faced off. Last season, the Leopards took a 56-32 decision on their home court to improve to 3-2 in the all-time series between the two schools. Lauren Clarke tallied a team-high 11 points for the Bears in 36 minutes.
SCOUTING THE LEOPARDS
The Bears open their 40th season of play against the Lafayette Leopards of the Patriot League. Entering her fourth season at the helm, Head Coach Dianne Nolan's squad enters this season off an 11-19 record in 2012-13. Prior to her tenure with Lafayette, Nolan spent three seasons as an assistant at Yale and 28 seasons as the head coach of Fairfield. Junior forward Emily Homan and senior center Danielle Fiacco averaged over 10 points per game last season to lead the Leopards. Lafayette will host Rider on Friday in its season opener before traveling to Providence.
"It will be a good test for us, we didn't have our best game against Lafayette last season so we are looking forward to the challenge that their strong frontcourt presents," said Burr.
Video of all home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on BrownBears.TV. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, weekly or daily packages.
Brown will hit the road for its next five games, starting with a tilt against Saint Peter's on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. The Bears defeated Saint Peter's in last season's opener by a score of 82-48.