March 4, 2006
Philadelphia, PA - For the first time since the 1993-94 season the Brown women's basketball team (18-9, 12-2) clinched a share of the 2006 Ivy League Title with a 70-62 victory at Penn on Saturday night. Senior Sarah Hayes led Brown with 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals on the night.
"I see a real consistant thread in this team. They support each other and our four seniors have been great in providing leadership," said Head Coach Jean Marie Burr after the game. "We were very taken aback by the way Princeton took us out of our game so we wanted to refocus tonight and get the victory."
Brown will now play the waiting game as it will learn its fate once Princeton and Dartmouth complete their regular seasons. The Tigers will host Penn while the Big Green host Harvard on Tuesday at 7 p.m. A loss by either Princeton or Dartmouth will cost them a share of the Ivy Title. If both teams win, there will be a three-way tie for title.
A single elimination playoff game will be held on Friday, March 10 at a neutral site yet to be selected. Cards will be drawn to determine which team will receive the first game bye. The deciding playoff game will then take place on Sunday, March 12 with the winner earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. If there is a two-way tie for the Ivy crown, the playoff game will take place on the 12th.
Brown smothered Penn on defense, getting four steals in the first three minutes of play but the Bears struggled to keep control of the ball as well, giving Penn a 12-10 lead. Junior Monica Naltner had the hot hand for the Quakers, scoring seven early points.
The Bears extended their lead out to 11, 25-14, with 5:32 left thanks to the quickness of Hayes, who posted back-to-back lay-ins. Her pull-up jumper at the buzzer sent Brown into the locker room with a 12 point lead, its biggest of the half, 36-24.
Hayes led all players with 14 points off 6-8 shooting while Naltner kept the Quakers in reach with 12. Brown out-shot Penn 43.8 percent to 38.5 percent. Erasing Naltner's 5-8 performance, the rest of the Penn team went just 5-18 from the field.
Hayes continued her domination in the second half, scoring Brown's first four points. After Penn got to within four, the Bears rolled out to an 11 point lead, 47-36, with a post jumper by Hayes followed by a three from senior Colleen Kelly.
Penn rallied back to make it a four point contest, 49-45, once again with 8:29 left in the game but the Bears didn't allow the Quakers to get any closer, quickly retaking a ten point advantage off back to back breakaway lay-ups by freshman Meaghan McCahill from Hayes.
The three point shooting of Joey Rhoads kept Penn within striking distance as she knocked in three from long range in the final five minutes of the game, including one with 1:39 left that cut the lead to three, 62-59. Brown iced the victory at the line, however, as Kelly went 6-6 while Vocell added two more.
Kelly finished with 13 points and four steals while King-Bischof added ten points. Junior Lena McAfee added seven points and eight rebounds as well.