PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University women's basketball begins the back-to-back portion of its Ivy League schedule with road contests at Dartmouth College on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3/ILN) at Leede Arena and at Harvard University on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 4:00 p.m. (NESN/ILN) at Lavietes Pavilion.
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IVY LEAGUE NETWORK
Video of all 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. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, or daily packages.
The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.
ON THE FAST BREAK
As a team, Brown leads the Ivy League in points per game (80.9), 3-point field goals made per game (8.9), assists per game (16.93), rebounds per game (45.1), and blocks per game (5.93), while ranking second in field goal percentage (42.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.17). The Bears have scored at least 70 points in 13 of their 15 games and have eclipsed 80 points eight times. As a team, Brown ranks 22nd in the country in 3-pointers made per game, 21st in scoring offense, seventh in rebounds per game, 13th in blocked shots per game, and 11th in winning percentage (.867).
IN THE RANKINGS
Brown featured in the CollegeInsider.com Women's Mid-Major Top 25 poll from Jan. 9, checking in at No. 22. The poll includes a voting panel of 31 collegiate head coaches and comprises 23 conferences. Princeton (No. 5) and Penn (No. 25) stand as the only Ivy League teams in the poll from Jan. 23. Brown also received a vote in the AP national top-25 poll on Jan. 1 and two votes on Jan. 8. In the RPI on Jan. 22, Brown ranks at No. 89 behind only Princeton (No. 48) and Harvard (No. 88) among Ivy teams. Dartmouth (No. 105), Penn (No. 112), and Yale (No. 126) stand just outside the top 100.
START YOUR ENGINES
Beginning the year with a 12-1 record, Brown established its best start in program history through 13 games. The Bears began – and ended – the year 11-1 in 1973-74. At 10-1 through 11 games, the Bears began 2015-16 with their best start since 1973-74. Brown opened the 2015-16 season at 5-0 for the first time in school history before falling at Manhattan. The team started 4-0 in the 1990-91 season and in the 1974-75 campaign. In 2004-05 the Bears notched a 6-1 start. Brown opened its 45th season of women's basketball on Nov. 12, and the Bears have now registered a 19-26 record all-time in season openers. Brown has won its last four openers and five of its last six season debuts.
The Bears have notched a 12-1 mark in non-conference contests this year, tying for the second-most non-conference wins in school history and giving the Bears double-digit non-league wins for the sixth time. Last winter the team tallied a 10-6 non-conference record as Brown posted its fifth-most non-conference wins in program history. With a 12-2 mark in non-conference contests in 2015-16, Brown finished second in program history for non-conference victories in a season. The Bears went 13-2 in non-league games in 1974-75 and notched 11 such wins in 1973-74 and 1975-76.
MEHTA ECLIPSES 1,000 POINTS
Junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) became the 20th 1,000-point scorer in program history and the fifth student-athlete in program history to score 1,000 points before her senior year with a 28-point effort at Colgate (Dec. 10). She netted her 1,000th point on a corner 3-pointer with 6:14 to play against the Raiders. She became the program's first 1,000-point scorer since Jordin Alexander '16, and the program's first player to score 1,000 points before her senior year since Vita Redding '99.
Brown carries two of the Ivy League's top three scorers in junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.). Mehta ranks second in the conference with 18.8 points per game and stands 22nd in the nation with 3.21 made 3-pointers per game. She has connected on four or more 3-pointers in each of six games this year and currently ranks 14th all-time in school history with 1,073 career points and fourth in program history with 169 career made 3-pointers. Gaziano ranks third in the league with 18.1 points per game and paces the conference and stands 14th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (.883). The duo has combined for 12 20-point games this season, helping Brown post a 20-point scorer in 14 of 15 games, including three contests with two 20-point scorers.
Brown received 24 points from its bench against Yale at home on Jan. 19, marking a season high against a Division I opponent. Freshman guard Dominique Leonidas (Stone Mountain, Ga.) led the group with a career-high 12 points – all in the second half – while junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) netted six points. Senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) and sophomore forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) each hit a 3-pointer to complete the effort.
CROSSING THE CENTURY MARK
Brown set a program record for points against a Division I opponent in its 102-77 win over Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). The Bears scored over 100 points against a Division I team for the first time in school history. Brown crossed the century mark for the first time in a 114-28 win over Division III Mount Ida on Nov. 19, 2015 and reached the plateau in a 100-79 win over Johnson & Wales (Jan. 5). The Bears' previous scoring high against a Division I opponent came in a 98-88 win over Princeton on Jan. 13, 2017. Against SHU, Brown trailed 32-13 at the 8:29 mark of the second quarter before outscoring the Pioneers, 89-45, over the remainder of the game.
BACK-TO-BACK OCEAN STATE TIP-OFF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Brown won its second straight Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament title on Dec. 3 as the Bears defeated host Providence College in the semifinals (Dec. 2), 64-59, and topped Bryant University, 72-60, in the championship game (Dec. 3). Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) earned Tournament MVP honors while junior guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) gained All-Tournament Team accolades. The Bears won the inaugural event in 2016 behind victories over Rhode Island in the semifinals and Providence in the championship game.
TAKING THE TURKEY TIP-OFF TITLE
Brown traveled to the state of California over the Thanksgiving break and won the Turkey Tip-Off title at the University of the Pacific. The Bears opened the tournament with a 73-66 win over Hampton in the semifinals on Nov. 24 prior to topping the host Tigers, 74-57, in the championship game on Nov. 25. Junior guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) paced the Bears with 19.0 points per game in the tournament, including 23 points in the title game, while junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) posted a pair of double-doubles, averaging 13.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game.
MEHTA ON THE MARK
Junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) scored a career-high 33 points and set a single-game program record with nine made 3-pointers in the Bears' game against No. 20 California on Nov. 19. Mehta hit 9-of-15 shots from 3-point distance and earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors on Nov. 20. She came within one 3-pointer of tying the Ivy League record for made 3-pointers in a single game and posted her second career game with 30 or more points.
HISTORY MADE BEYOND THE ARC
Against No. 20 California on Nov. 19, Brown set single-game program records for 3-pointers made (16) and 3-pointers attempted (41), shooting 39.0 percent from distance in the contest. In the first quarter alone, the Bears connected on 7-of-17 shots (41.2 percent) from behind the arc.
Junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) ranks second in the Ivy League with 18.8 points per game, leads the league with 3.2 made 3-pointers per game, and ranks sixth with 2.1 steals per game. Mehta netted a career-high 33 points and set a single-game program record with nine made 3-pointers vs. No. 20 California (Nov. 19). She scored her 1,000th career point behind a 28-point effort at Colgate (Dec. 10), hitting 6-of-11 shots from distance. Mehta netted 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting and 4-of-9 shots from 3-point distance along with a career-high seven steals vs. Holy Cross (Nov. 29). She scored 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting with five made 3-pointers vs. Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). Mehta posted 22 points and seven rebounds in an overtime win at Howard (Dec. 31). She tallied 18 points, six assists, six rebounds, and four steals vs. BU (Dec. 22). At the Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament, she totaled 13 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high seven steals vs. Bryant (Dec. 3) in the championship game and posted 14 points – all in the second half – in the semifinals vs. Providence (Dec. 2). Playing in her home state for the first time as a collegiate player at the Turkey Tip-Off, she netted 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting at Pacific (Nov. 25). She scored 16 points and hit 4-of-8 shots from 3-point distance in the opener vs. Bryant (Nov. 12). Mehta posted her first double-double of the year on 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. Yale (Jan. 19). Entering the Dartmouth game, she has 169 career made 3-pointers – ranking fourth all-time at Brown. In her career, she has scored in double figures 56 times and netted 20 or more points 18 times. She has enjoyed back-to-back successful seasons to open her collegiate career, gaining Second Team All-Ivy and Ivy League All-Tournament Team honors in 2016-17 after winning Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2015-16.
GAZIANO THE GO-TO
Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) ranks third in the Ivy League with 18.1 points per game, first in free throw percentage (88.3), and seventh in field goal percentage (47.3). She scored 20 points in the home win over Yale (Jan. 19) and netted a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting against BU (Dec. 22). Gaziano earned Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament MVP honors after leading all scorers at the tournament with 23.0 points per game. She poured in a game-high 26 points vs. Bryant (Dec. 3) in the championship game and dropped a game-high 20 points at Providence (Dec. 2) in the semifinals. Gaziano netted 21 points vs. Hampton (Nov. 24), making 10-of-10 free throws to tie for the third most free throws made in a game without a miss in program history. She notched 23 points and made a career-high 10-of-11 free throws in the season opener vs. Bryant (Nov. 12), following that with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting at CCSU (Nov. 16). She scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting vs. No. 20 California (Nov. 19), tallied 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting vs. Sacred Heart (Dec. 6), and netted 16 points against both Howard (Dec. 31) and Holy Cross (Nov. 29). She emerged as a potent scorer last season as a rookie, earning Second Team All-Ivy honors and ranking second in the Ivy League with 16.5 points per game. For her career, Gaziano has scored in double figures in each of 34 games, netted 20 or more points 13 times, and eclipsed 30 points twice.
STEEVES ANCHORS FRONTCOURT
Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) leads the Ivy League in rebounds per game (8.9) and defensive rebounds per game (7.9), while ranking second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), fifth in 3-pointers per game (2.0), fifth in assists per game (3.5), and 12th in points per game (12.7). Steeves scored the second-most points in a single game in school history with a career-best 38 points vs. Johnson & Wales (Jan. 5), setting career highs for field goals made (14) and 3-pointers made (eight). In the Ivy opener at Yale (Jan. 12), she posted her fourth double-double of the year on 18 points and 13 rebounds and followed that with 11 rebounds and seven assists at home against the Bulldogs (Jan. 19). Against Sacred Heart (Dec. 6), she tallied career highs against a Division I opponent for points (31), field goals made (12), and 3-pointers made (six), while completing the double-double with 13 rebounds. Steeves posted a pair of double-doubles at the Turkey Tip-Off, totaling 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds vs. Hampton before compiling 10 points and 14 rebounds at Pacific (Nov. 25). Steeves notched 13 points and eight boards at Colgate (Dec. 10), tallied 12 points and six boards vs. BU (Dec. 22), and charted 12 points and seven boards at Howard (Dec. 31). She helped the Bears win the Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament with 12 points at Providence (Dec. 2) in the semifinals. She dished out a career-high seven assists vs. No. 20 California (Nov. 19). She returns as one of the Bears' most experienced frontcourt players after earning a spot on the Ivy League All-Tournament Team last winter. She ranked eighth in the Ivy League in points per game (12.9), fourth in rebounds per game (8.4), and first in defensive rebounds per game (7.1) in 2016-17.
WHITE WITH THE BLOCK
Senior forward Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) leads the Ivy League and ranks eighth nationally with 3.27 blocks per game and has notched four or more blocks in each of nine games this year. She has posted 8.2 points per game and ranks seventh in the league with 7.7 rebounds per game. White has scored in double figures in three of her last four games. She posted a double-double on 17 points and 12 rebounds in the home win vs. Yale (Jan. 19). White totaled a double-double on 13 points and 10 rebounds, while sinking two free throws with 5.5 seconds left in regulation in an overtime win at Howard (Dec. 31). She compiled her first collegiate double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds alongside a season-high six blocks at Colgate (Dec. 10). She totaled 12 points, six boards, and four blocks vs. Holy Cross (Nov. 29), registered 15 points, seven boards, and four blocks vs. JWU (Jan. 5), and corralled a season-high 14 rebounds with four blocks vs. Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). White tallied 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting at Pacific (Nov. 25) to help Brown win the Turkey Tip-Off. She helped Brown win the Ocean State Tip-Off with nine boards and four blocks vs. Providence (Dec. 2) in the semifinals. She snared a game-high 11 rebounds with four blocks in the opener vs. Bryant (Nov. 12) and compiled nine points, eight boards, and four blocks at CCSU (Nov. 16). She has 174 career blocks, ranking fourth all-time at Brown and 12th in Ivy League history. After studying abroad in Switzerland during the fall 2016 semester, she returned to the team last spring, playing in 14 games and leading the Bears with 1.7 blocks per game. White played a pivotal role in the team's run to the Ivy League Tournament, scoring a career-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four steals at Columbia on Mar. 3.
BREAD AND BUTLER
Junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) has played an increased role over Brown's last four games, averaging 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 25.0 minutes per game during that span. For the season, she has averaged 3.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 16.0 minutes per game. In the Ivy opener at Yale (Jan. 12), she netted a season-best 12 points alongside six rebounds and followed that with six points and seven rebounds vs. the Bulldogs at home (Jan. 19). Butler tallied eight points and a season-high eight rebounds at Howard (Dec. 31). She posted six points and seven boards in an 82-78 win over Holy Cross (Nov. 29), scoring the go-ahead basket with 59 seconds left. Butler netted seven points at Colgate (Dec. 10) and grabbed six boards against both JWU (Jan. 5) and Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). She adds to Brown's experience in the frontcourt after playing in all 30 games last winter – one of four Bears to appear in every game last season. She earned Ocean State Tip-Off All-Tournament Team honors and made 23 starts a year ago, including 12 of the last 13 games of the season. Last year, Butler averaged 23.4 minutes, 4.3 points, and 4.4 rebounds per game.
REILLY APPROACHING GAME 100
Senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) will act as a captain for the Bears for the second straight season and serves as Brown's most veteran player, having played in 99 career games entering the Dartmouth game. She has tallied 1.9 points per game, 1.9 assists per game, and a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio on the year. Reilly netted a season-best eight points on 3-of-3 shooting with three assists and no turnovers at Howard (Dec. 31) before distributing a career-high nine assists with six rebounds vs. JWU (Jan. 5). She dished out four assists with no turnovers vs. Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). She played in all 30 games last year with 11 starts and ranked second in the Ivy League in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2). Reilly averaged 18.2 minutes, 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game last season.
Freshman guard Dominique Leonidas (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has averaged 15.1 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game for the season. She scored a career-high 12 points – all in the second half – with a career-best six rebounds in the home win over Yale (Jan. 19). At the Ocean State Tip-Off, Leonidas posted seven points and four rebounds vs. Bryant (Dec. 3) in the championship game and came up with five boards at Providence (Dec. 2) in the semifinals. She netted six points in the second half vs. Hampton (Nov. 24) and handed out four assists at Howard (Dec. 31). Leonidas distributed a career-high nine assists vs. JWU (Jan. 5) and dished out a game-high six assists in just 14 minutes in the opener vs. Bryant (Nov. 12) in her collegiate debut. She finished second all-time at Parkview High School in career assists before spending a post-graduate year at the Loomis Chaffee School (Conn.) and earning NEPSAC All-Star honors.
DALE DIALS IN
Freshman guard McKenna Dale (Storrs, Conn.) has played an increased role since Dec. 22 after missing the early portion of the season due to injury. Dale has averaged 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 10.0 minutes per game on the year. She scored seven points and hit 2-of-3 shots from 3-point distance against BU (Dec. 22) and followed that with a career-high 18 points vs. JWU (Jan. 5), making 6-of-10 shots from the floor and 4-of-8 shots from distance. She earned Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior and finished her career as Edwin O. Smith's all-time leading scorer with 1,792 career points.
RYAN OFF THE BENCH
Sophomore forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) came off the bench and handed out a game-high five assists at Colgate (Dec. 10). She knocked down a pair of 3-pointers at Pacific (Nov. 25) to help lead Brown to the Turkey Tip-Off title. Last winter she shot 36.1 percent from 3-point distance and scored a career-high 13 points at Morgan State (Dec. 31).
BENZINGER ON THE BOARDS
Freshman center Jenna Benzinger (Williamstown, Mass.) has made the most of her playing time this season. She grabbed five rebounds in five minutes vs. BU (Dec. 22), blocked three shots in five minutes against No. 20 California (Nov. 19), and snagged five boards in six minutes vs. JWU (Jan. 5). She finished her high school career with over 1,000 career points and over 900 career rebounds.
Through Brown's first 11 games junior guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) ranked fifth in the Ivy League with 17.0 points per game, fifth in field goal percentage (48.3), fourth in assists per game (3.9), third in steals per game (2.6), and fourth in free throw percentage (77.6). She will miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Will scored in double figures in all 11 games in which she played and netted over 20 points in each of three games. She poured in a season-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the Turkey Tip-Off title game at Pacific (Nov. 25) after posting 15 points and nine rebounds in the semifinals vs. Hampton (Nov. 24). She totaled 20 points at Colgate (Dec. 10) and notched her second double-double of the season on 19 points and 10 rebounds with seven assists vs. Sacred Heart (Dec. 6). Will earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team at the Ocean State Tip-Off and tallied her first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Holy Cross (Nov. 29). She compiled 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists at CCSU (Nov. 16). She took a major step forward in her development last season pushing her scoring from 1.7 points per game as a freshman to 12.3 points per game as a sophomore – an increase of 10.6 points per game. Last winter, she earned Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament MVP honors and gained Ivy League Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 5.
BEARS SIGN ELLIE LEO THROUGH TEAM IMPACT
Brown officially signed Ellie Leo, a 12-year-old, seventh grade student from Norton, Mass., to its roster through a Team IMPACT Cystic Fibrosis Project "Draft Day" Sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Nov. 30. As part of a ceremony in the Pizzitola Sports Center's Joukowsky Room, Ellie – a high honors student who loves gymnastics, basketball, and art – signed an official Letter of Intent before her family and friends and received an authentic team jersey from the Bears.
NON-LEAGUE WINNING STREAK
During non-league play, Brown went on a 10-game winning streak from Nov. 24 to Jan. 5, marking the second double-digit win streak in program history. The Bears posted one other double-digit win streak during a school-record 13-game stretch from Jan. 23 to Mar. 5 during the 1992-93 season.
STEEVES SCORES SECOND-MOST POINTS
Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) scored 38 points – the second-highest single-game total in school history – in Brown's 100-79 win over Johnson & Wales (Jan. 5). She netted 8-of-10 shots from 3-point distance, marking the second-most made 3-pointers in a game in program history. Her 14 made field goals tied for the fourth most in a contest in the Brown record book. Her 38-point effort helped the Bears score 100 or more points for the second time this season and for the third time in program history.
MEHTA WINS IVY WEEKLY HONORS FOR SECOND TIME
Brown junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and the fifth time in her career on Jan. 1 after helping lead the Bears to an 85-81 win in overtime at Howard. Mehta tallied 22 points and seven rebounds against the Bison. She hit 4-of-9 shots from 3-point distance, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final 1:15 of regulation to help the Bears force overtime. She put Brown ahead for good with a jumper with 35.2 seconds left in overtime.
GAZIANO GARNERS IVY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) garnered Ivy League Player of the Week honors on Dec. 4 after leading the Bears to their second straight Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament title. Gaziano scored 20.7 points per game on the week, helping Brown go 3-0 and win back-to-back Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament titles. She earned Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament MVP honors, leading all scorers at the tournament with 23.0 points per game. She netted a game-high 26 points vs. Bryant (Dec. 3), notched a game-high 20 points at Providence (Dec. 2), and added 16 points vs. Holy Cross (Nov. 29).
STEEVES SNAGS IVY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) gained Ivy League Player of the Week honors on Nov. 27 after posting a pair of double-doubles and helping lead the Bears to the Turkey Tip-Off title at Pacific. Steeves averaged 13.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game as Brown beat Hampton and Pacific. She totaled 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds vs. Hampton (Nov. 24) and followed that with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists vs. Pacific (Nov. 25).
Brown will make at least 13 appearances on external broadcast platforms during the 2017-18 season, including six games on ESPN3. In addition to their six contests on ESPN3, the Bears will feature twice on the NESN family of networks, twice on Cox Yurview, twice on myRITV, and once on Eleven Sports. In total, 10 of Brown's 14 Ivy League games will appear on external broadcast platforms, including all eight of the Bears' Friday night conference games. Brown's six games on ESPN3 comprise at Dartmouth (Jan. 26), Penn (Feb. 2), at Cornell (Feb. 9), Harvard (Feb. 16), Columbia (Feb. 23), and at Princeton (Mar. 2).
BEARS' RADIO BROADCASTS SET FOR WPRV-AM 790
Brown is set to have three contests broadcast on the radio in Southern New England on WPRV-AM 790 as part of doubleheaders with the Bears' men's basketball program. WPRV-AM 790 will broadcast Brown's games vs. Boston University (Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m.), at Yale (Jan. 12, noon), and vs. Yale (Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m.). Fans can listen to the games over the air in Southern New England on WPRV-AM 790, online at 790business.com, or via the TuneIn App nationwide. Scott Cordischi and Russ Tyler '71 will handle the commentary.
BEHN SET TO JOIN BROWN BEARS COACHES SHOW
Brown head coach Sarah Behn will appear on the Brown Bears Men's Basketball Coaches Show twice this season as part of the show's "Women's Basketball Report featuring Head Coach Sarah Behn." Coach Behn and select student-athletes will make two cameos on the show on Jan. 10 and Mar. 7. The show airs each Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. until Mar. 7 live from the Hilton Garden Inn at 220 India Street in Providence, R.I. Fans can engage in the show in a variety of ways including over the air on WPRV-AM 790, online at 790business.com, via the TuneIn App, on Facebook Live on the Brown Athletics Facebook page, or on the Ivy League Network.
Brown was picked to finish fourth in the 2017-18 Ivy League Women's Basketball Preseason Media Poll, the Ivy League conference office announced on Oct. 25. Defending league champion Penn took the top spot in the poll with 12 first-place votes and 129 total points. Princeton followed in second with five first-place votes and 110 total points while Harvard (98 points) and Brown (87) rounded out the top half of the poll. Yale (64), Cornell (48), Columbia (42), and Dartmouth (24) filled out the fifth through eighth slots, in order.
The Bears return 94 percent of their scoring, 95 percent of their rebounding, and all five starters from a team that earned a berth in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament last season and gained the program's first win in a national postseason tournament at the Women's Basketball Invitational.
For the first time in program history – based off statistics available from the NCAA era (1981-82 to present) – Brown held four 300-point scorers on its roster in a single season. In 2016-17, guard Shayna Mehta '19 (San Francisco, Calif.), guard Justine Gaziano '20 (Natick, Mass.), forward Erika Steeves '19 (Montreal, Quebec), and guard Taylor Will '19 (Arlington Heights, Ill.) tallied 470, 397, 373, and 368 points respectively. Brown has carried three 300-point scorers in a single season three previous times – 2015-16, 1991-92, and 1984-85 – but never had a quartet of players reach the threshold prior to last year.
ANCIENT EIGHT OFFENSIVE LEADERS
As a team last season, the Bears led the Ivy League in points per game (72.3), field goals made per game (26.0), 3-pointers made per game (7.5), and field goal percentage (42.0) while ranking second in free throws made per game (12.8), 3-point percentage (35.5), and free throw percentage (73.9). The Bears carried two of the top three, three of the top eight, and four of the top 11 scorers in the Ivy League with Justine Gaziano '20 (Natick, Mass.), Shayna Mehta '19 (San Francisco, Calif.), Erika Steeves '19 (Montreal, Quebec), and Taylor Will '19 (Arlington Heights, Ill.), averaging 16.5, 15.7, 12.9, and 12.3 points per game on the year respectively.
SUMMER WELL SPENT
Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec), junior guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.), and senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) all engaged in significant projects off the court this summer. Steeves spent 23 days traveling through China, studying the market for amateur and professional basketball there through a Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society. Mehta spent 18 days in Chennai, India with Crossover Basketball Academy, using basketball as a vehicle to impact the education rates of marginalized communities there. Reilly spent her summer in New York City interning for the NBA G League's Business Operations team.
STEEVES NORTH OF THE BORDER
Junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) took part in a pair of camps with Canada Basketball's Women's National Team in the summer of 2017. Steeves competed in the program's Assessment Camp from May 12-22 in Edmonton, Alberta and in the organization's Development Team Tryouts from July 29 to August 8 in Toronto, Ontario.
IVY LEAGUE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Forward Erika Steeves '19 (Montreal, Quebec) and guard Shayna Mehta '19 (San Francisco, Calif.) both earned spots on the inaugural Ivy League Women's Basketball All-Tournament Team. In the Bears' semifinal match-up with Penn, Steeves recorded her sixth double-double of the year on 18 points and 12 rebounds while Mehta netted a team-high 19 points, hitting 5-of-11 shots from 3-point distance.
Guard Shayna Mehta '19 (San Francisco, Calif.) and guard Justine Gaziano '20 (Natick, Mass.) both garnered Second Team All-Ivy honors last winter, becoming the first pair of Bears to earn Second Team All-Ivy or better since 2006. At the end of the regular season, Mehta stood fourth in the league in points per game, second in steals per game, and fifth in assists per game while Gaziano ranked second in the conference in points per game, third in field goal percentage, and fourth in 3-point percentage.
STEEVES EARNS COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Forward Erika Steeves '19 (Montreal, Quebec) gained 2016-17 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District accolades. In order to earn CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, a student-athlete must participate as a starter or an important reserve, have reached sophomore academic standing, and maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average.
FIRST-EVER NATIONAL POSTSEASON WIN
Brown recorded its first-ever win in a national postseason tournament with an 81-75 win over UMBC in the first round of the WBI, joining the 1993-94 team's win in an Ivy League playoff game as the program's only other postseason win. The team's 17 wins last season marked the most victories for the Bears since the team won 18 games in back-to-back seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
BACK-TO-BACK WINNING SEASONS
After going 15-13 overall in 2015-16 and 17-13 in 2016-17, Brown posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since registering four straight seasons above .500 from 2002-06. Brown's 7-7 mark in Ivy League play stood as the Bears' first season at .500 or better in league play since going 7-7 and finishing in fourth place in 2011-12.
Last winter, Brown set single-season program records for games played (30), points (2,169), field goals made (779), 3-pointers made (226), and free throw percentage (.739).
IVIES IN MARCH
For the first time in the history of the Ivy League, four women's basketball teams competed in the postseason last year. Penn earned the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship while Princeton gained the conference's automatic bid into the WNIT. Harvard garnered an at-large spot into the WNIT, and Brown made its first-ever appearance in the WBI.
Senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) and junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) will serve the Bears as captains during the 2017-18 season. Reilly is set to act as a captain for Brown for the second straight year.
CLASS OF 2021
Brown welcomes five student-athletes to the program in its Class of 2021. The group includes center Jenna Benzinger (Williamstown, Mass.), forward Morgan Clausen (Algonquin, Ill.), guard McKenna Dale (Storrs, Conn.), guard Dominique Leonidas (Stone Mountain, Ga.), and guard/forward Savannah Lewis (Westlake Village, Calif.).
Brown head coach Sarah Behn made two tweaks to her staff during the offseason, promoting Jeffrey Kirpas – the team's operations coordinator in 2016-17 – to an assistant coach position and hiring Sophie Albano-Alisberg as the team's new operations coordinator.
THE DARTMOUTH SERIES HISTORY
Brown trails Dartmouth, 54-27, in the 81 all-time meetings between the two teams. The Bears and Big Green are knotted at 5-5 over the last 10 meetings with the two teams splitting last season's series. Brown's 50-47 win at Dartmouth on Feb. 7, 2015 completed the Bears' first road sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth since 1993. Brown last swept Dartmouth in the 2013-14 season.
THE HARVARD SERIES HISTORY
Brown and Harvard have met 86 times on the hardwood with the Crimson holding a 50-36 edge in the all-time series. The Crimson has swept the series in each of the last two years, but the two teams split during the 2014-15 season. Brown's 83-80 win at Harvard on Feb. 6, 2015 marked the Bears' first road win against Harvard since 2006 and helped the Bears tally their first road sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth since 1993. Brown last swept Harvard in 2005-06.
SCOUTING THE BIG GREEN
Dartmouth brings a 9-6 overall record and 1-1 conference mark into the weekend, coming off a series split with Harvard to open Ivy League play. As a team, the Big Green leads the Ancient Eight in field goal percentage (.429), 3-point percentage (.340), and free throw percentage (.772). Cy Lippold paces the team with 14.3 points per game and ranks second in the league with 12.3 points per game. Kate Letkewicz and Isalys Quinones have averaged 12.3 and 10.1 points per game respectively.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
Harvard carries a 9-6 overall mark and a 1-1 conference record into the weekend, coming off a series split with Dartmouth to open Ivy League action. The Crimson plays Yale on Friday at 6:00 p.m. prior to facing the Bears. As a team, Harvard ranks second in the conference in rebounds per game (41.9) and offensive rebounds per game (15.0). Katie Benzan leads the Ancient Eight in 3-point percentage (.436) and paces the team with 12.6 points per game. Taylor Rooks and Jeannie Boehm have netted 11.6 and 11.1 points per game apiece.
After playing at Harvard on Saturday, Brown hosts its first back-to-back Ivy weekend at home with contests against Penn on Friday, Feb. 2 at 6:00 p.m. (ESPN3/ILN) and Princeton on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 4:00 p.m. (ILN).
SECOND ANNUAL IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Brown will look to compete at the second annual Ivy League Tournament, which is set to return to The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa., from Mar. 10-11, 2017. Semifinals for the tournament will take place at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Mar. 10 on ESPN3, and the final for the tournament will tip off at 4:00 p.m. on Mar. 11 on ESPNU. Tickets for the tournament are on sale at IvyMadness.com.
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.