PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano scored 20 points, senior forward Janie White and junior guard Shayna Mehta both posted double-doubles, and Brown University women's basketball edge Yale University in overtime, 81-71, in its Ivy League home opener at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Friday evening.
After holding a lead as large as 15 points with 4:41 left in the fourth quarter, the two teams entered overtime tied at 66-66 before the host Bears (13-2, 1-1 Ivy) outscored the Bulldogs (8-7, 1-1 Ivy) 15-5 in the bonus session to split the season series between the two teams.
"It was a really great team effort," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "We got 24 bench points tonight where we had zero last Friday. I think we did a better job managing our personnel, and they responded to the game plan, which was to contain a little bit better. Even though we had a good lead and let it slip, we had the composure to take the lead again and win."
Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) scored 20 or more points for the seventh time this season, hitting 8-of-19 shots from the field and netting 13 points after halftime.
White (Clarksville, Tenn.) posted a season-high 17 points with 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the year while Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) registered her first double-double of the season on 15 points and 11 rebounds. Both White and Mehta connected on 5-of-6 free throws.
Freshman guard Dominique Leonidas (Stone Mountain, Ga.) finished with career highs in points (12) and rebounds (six) with all of her points coming after halftime. Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) tied her career high with seven assists and grabbed 11 rebounds, and junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) tallied six points and seven rebounds.
"We've been in close games before and have a lot of veterans on this team so we knew we could pull it out," White said. "We followed the game plan and made adjustments when we needed to."
Brown used advantages in rebounds (57-50), points in the paint (38-26), second-chance points (16-9), fast break points (14-4), and bench points (24-16) to take the second leg of the two-game series after Yale topped Brown, 77-63, in New Haven, Conn., on Jan. 12. The Bears corralled 50 or more rebounds for the sixth time this season and four the fourth time in the last five games. Brown never trailed in the game, holding a lead for 40:52 of the contest's 45 minutes.
Leading 29-25 at halftime, Brown remained ahead 38-35 prior to using a 9-2 spurt to pull ahead 47-37 with 1:57 to go in the third quarter. During the run, Mehta and sophomore forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) each hit 3-pointers and Leonidas finished a 3-point play. A fast break layup just before the buzzer from Gaziano gave Brown a 51-41 edge entering the fourth quarter.
Brown extended its advantage to 62-47 with 4:41 to play in regulation following four straight points from Gaziano. The Bears remained ahead 64-50, but Yale used a 14-0 run in 2:06 to tie the score at 64-64. Gaziano made a layup to push Brown ahead 66-64, but two free throws from Yale with 22.7 seconds on the clock sent the game to overtime.
In overtime, Brown outscored Yale 13-2 over the period's opening 4:40. Leonidas scored 20 seconds into the period and four straight points from Mehta later in the frame gave the Bears a 74-66 lead with 1:19 left. Yale scored its first basket of overtime with 1:08 to go, but Brown hit seven more free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Brown opened the game with a 9-6 edge at the 5:08 mark of the first quarter behind a corner 3-pointer from Mehta, White layup, and second-chance basket from freshman guard McKenna Dale (Storrs, Conn.) The Bears remained up 16-11 at the end of the opening period after a wing 3-pointer from senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.).
Baskets from Steeves and White prior to a 3-pointer from Gaziano kept Brown up 23-17 with 5:52 to play in the second quarter. A fast break layup from Gaziano and inside jumper from Mehta gave Brown a 29-25 halftime edge.
For Yale, Jen Berkowitz compiled a double-double on 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Tamara Simpson notched 11 points and six steals.
Next, Brown begins the back-to-back portion of its Ivy League schedule with road games at Dartmouth (Jan. 26, 7:00 p.m., ESPN3/ILN) and at Harvard (Jan. 27, 4:00 p.m., NESN/ILN).
Brown improved to 46-41 all-time vs. Yale an 30-14 at home … The Bears split the season series with Yale for the second straight season after the Bulldogs swept the series in 2014, 2015, and 2016 … The Bears improved to 6-1 at home and have won 11 of their last 12 games overall … Shayna Mehta now has 1,073 career points and moved into 14th place on Brown's all-time list, passing Sheila Dixon '13 who had 1,070 career points. Mehta now has 169 career made 3-pointers … Janie White now has 174 career blocks, taking sole possession of 12th place in Ivy League history … Mehta posted her seventh career double-double … Erika Steeves grabbed double-digit rebounds for the 16th time in her career … Justine Gaziano scored 20 or more points for the 13th time in her career … Brown has posted a 20-point scorer in 14 of 15 games … Dominique Leonidas scored in double figures for the first time in her career.
Video of all Brown women's basketball home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku, and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices.
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.