BALTIMORE, Md. – Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta recorded a double-double on 22 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore forward Erika Steeves scored 22 points as Brown University women's basketball beat the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 81-75, in the first round of the 2017 Women's Basketball Invitational on Thursday night at RAC Arena.
Making their second-ever appearance in a national postseason tournament, the Bears (17-12) never trailed and scored the game's last six points after the host Retrievers (15-16) tied the game at 75-75 with 1:31 to play.
Brown advances to the WBI quarterfinals and will play at UNC Greensboro on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Fleming Gym.
Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) recorded her fifth double-double of the season and scored over 20 points for the seventh time this year. She hit 8-of-15 shots from the field and 5-of-9 shots from 3-point distance, making five 3-pointers for the second straight game. She sank a 3-pointer to give Brown a 78-75 lead with 1:12 to play, netted 17 points in the second half, and eclipsed double figures for the 25th time this year.
Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) scored over 20 points for the fourth time this season and tied her career high for field goals made, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor while adding six rebounds.
The Bears tied a school record with 15 made 3-pointers, matching the record that they also set against UMBC on Nov. 20, 2013 at Navy. Five different Bears connected on two or more 3-pointers in the game.
Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) netted 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, scoring in double figures for the 20th time in 23 games played this year.
Junior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) dished out a game-high seven assists with just one turnover and scored six points on two 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) tallied seven points and six rebounds.
For UMBC, Pandora Wilson scored a team-high 19 points, Taylor McCarley netted 18 points, and Te'yjah posted 11 points.
Brown recorded its second-ever postseason win, joining the 1993-94 team's win in an Ivy League playoff. The Bears' game at UNC Greensboro on Mar. 19 will mark the latest that the team has played into the month of March and will mark the first time that the team has played 30 games in a season.
The Bears added to their single-season record for team points, extending their season point total to 2,085 points.
Mehta knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to push Brown ahead 73-63 with 4:11 to play, but the Retrievers responded with a 12-2 run to tie it at 75-75 with 1:31 left. Another triple from Mehta 19 seconds later gave the Bears back a 78-75 lead, and Gaziano made three free throws in the final 19.7 seconds to seal the win.
In the third quarter, Mehta, Steeves, and Reilly all converted on 3-point shots to keep the visitors ahead 57-47 with 4:16 to play in the frame. A layup from Mehta helped keep the Bears up 60-52 heading to the fourth quarter.
UMBC used an 8-0 run to pull within 60-58 with 8:13 remaining. Mehta stemmed the run with a baseline jumper and closed a 9-3 spurt with a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Bears a 69-61 edge with 6:04 to go.
The Bears took a 14-7 lead less than four minutes into the game as Will hit two 3-pointers and Gaziano and Steeves both connected from distance. Reilly and freshman Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) both sank 3-pointers before Gaziano finished on the inside off a feed from Reilly to put Brown ahead 24-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Brown extended its lead to 31-21 at the 7:14 mark of the second quarter as part of a 12-4 spurt spanning the first and second quarters. After UMBC pulled within 31-25, the Bears used a 12-2 run to gain a 43-27 advantage with 1:49 to go until the half. Mehta and junior Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) both sank 3-pointers, and Steeves hit a pair of 17-foot jumpers during the streak.
The visitors led 43-32 at the half, connecting on 16-of-28 shots from the field (57.1 percent) and 9-of-20 shots from 3-point distance (45.0 percent).
With two blocks in the game, White took sole possession of fourth place on Brown's all-time blocks list with 123 blocks.
The Bears – starting four sophomores and one freshman – improved to 2-2 all-time against the Retrievers, who started four seniors and one junior.
Video of all Brown women's basketball home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on ILDN.TV/BROWN.
Tickets for all Brown women's basketball games can be purchased online, by calling the Brown Athletics Ticket Office at (401) 863-2773, or by walking up to the box office located in the Pizzitola Sports Center, open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.