Women’s Basketball Closes Regular Season at Columbia, Cornell

Women’s Basketball Closes Regular Season at Columbia, Cornell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University women's basketball concludes the regular season with games at Columbia University on Friday at 7:00 p.m. (ILDN/ESPN3) and at Cornell University on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (ILDN) with Brown, Cornell, and Yale all competing for the final spot in the Ivy League Tournament.

At Columbia: Live Video (ESPN3) | Live Video (ILDN) | Live Stats
At Cornell: Live Video (ILDN) | Live Stats
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Game Notes: Brown at Columbia, Cornell 

Video of all home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on ILDN.TV/BROWN. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, weekly or daily packages. 

The inaugural Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 2017, at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The top four teams will earn berths in the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For more information, visit IvyMadness.com

Brown (14-11, 5-7 Ivy) enters the weekend tied for fifth place in the Ivy League standings alongside Yale (14-11, 5-7 Ivy) and one game back of fourth-place Cornell (15-10, 6-6 Ivy). While the Bears do not control their own destiny, their #PathToThePalestra remains open.

Brown's most likely road to reaching the conference tournament comes through winning both games, but a scenario also exists where the Bears qualify with just a win over Cornell. If Brown wins both games, it can finish no lower than a tie for fourth place and would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cornell. A tie with Yale for fourth place would put the second tiebreaker in play and would depend on the final league standings. The only scenario in which a three-way tie occurs comes if both Brown and Yale beat Cornell and fall to Columbia. All three teams would finish with 6-8 records, and Brown would advance due to a 3-1 composite record against Yale and Cornell. The Ivy League has developed a set of tiebreakers to determine tournament berths, available at IvyMadness.com

For the first time in program history – based off statistics available from the NCAA era (1981-82 to present) – Brown holds four 300-point scorers on its roster in a single season. Thus far in 2016-17, sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.), freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.), sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.), and sophomore forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) have tallied 364, 335, 321, and 303 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 this year. 

A total of 10 of Brown's 12 Ivy League games have come down to a margin of 10 points or fewer with the Bears holding a 5-5 record in those games. The Bears last four setbacks in Ivy play have come by a total of 16 points with two possessions or fewer deciding all four contests. Brown opened its league schedule with a 98-88 win at Princeton before topping Yale at home, 76-73. In the first weekend of February, Brown beat Cornell (72-67) and Columbia (69-60) before falling at Harvard (69-59) and winning at Dartmouth (65-62). Over the last two weekends, the Bears have dropped narrow decisions to Penn (71-68), Princeton (81-75), Dartmouth (92-88, OT), and Harvard (66-63). 

As a team, the Bears lead the Ivy League in points per game (72.0), field goals made per game (25.7), 3-pointers made per game (7.1), and field goal percentage (41.1) while ranking second in free throws made per game (13.6) and free throw percentage (73.9). The Bears carry two of the top four and three of the top eight scorers in the Ivy League in the backcourt triumvirate of freshman Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) and sophomores Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.), averaging 17.6, 14.6, and 12.8 points per game on the year respectively. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) has scored in double figures in 15 of 17 games since Dec. 22 after missing the better part of seven games due to injury. She ranks second in the Ivy League with 17.6 points per game in all games and 18.1 points per game in conference contests. She stands fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (47.3), second in field goals made per game (6.1), second in free throws made per game (3.8), and sixth in 3-point percentage (37.5). In games in which she has played more than one minute, she is posting 18.6 points over 33.3 minutes per game. In her first two Ivy League games, she tallied 28.5 points per game while shooting 59.5 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from 3-point range, and 75.0 percent from the line. 

Sophomore guards Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) stand among the eight scorers in the Ivy League, having scored 14.6 and 12.8 points per game apiece to rank fourth and eighth in the league. Will ranks sixth in the conference with 3.6 free throws made per game while Mehta and Will rank second and third with 1.9 and 1.8 steals per game respectively. Mehta stands fourth in the conference with 5.4 field goals made per game while she and Will have played 33.7 and 31.5 minutes per game apiece. Mehta ranks ahead of the leading scorer from five other schools in the Ancient Eight while Will stands ahead of the leading scorer from two other schools. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) has scored 20 or more points  six times this year. Gaziano scored 24 points against Princeton at home and has averaged 28.5 points per game against the Tigers in her career. She netted 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and 5-of-5 shooting from distance vs. Cornell. After pouring in 30 points against Rhode Island College, she netted a career-high 33 points at Princeton before scoring 24 points at Penn and 17 points vs. Yale at home. She netted 17 points vs. Dartmouth at home, totaled 14 points and seven boards vs. Harvard at home, and netted 16 points on the road against both the Crimson and Big Green. Gaziano posted her first collegiate double-double behind 19 points and a season-high 12 rebounds against Morgan State after dropping in 16 points at VCU. She made her return from injury against St. Peter's, totaling 14 points and seven rebounds. She netted a game-high 22 points in a win over Sacred Heart. In the second half against SHU, she totaled 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point distance. She scored 17 points in her collegiate debut in a win over Howard. She scored 19.5 points per game over her first two collegiate contests before sustaining an injury in the first minute of the Bryant game. 

Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) has scored in double figures in 21 of 25 games this season, netted 20 or more points five times, averaged 14.6 points per game, and connected on 35.8 percent of her 3-point shots. Mehta totaled 20 points and nine rebounds at home vs. Dartmouth and netted 16 points at home vs. Harvard. She tallied 21 points with a career-high six assists vs. Princeton at home. Mehta posted her first career double-double in Ivy play with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Harvard before scoring 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting at Dartmouth. She scored 18 points and tied her career high with six steals vs. Columbia. In the Bears' Ivy home opener vs. Yale, she posted 20 points and seven rebounds. She netted 17 points in Brown's Ivy opener at Princeton and scored a season-high 29 points in a win at Binghamton, netting 21 points in the second half. Her 19-point, 11-rebound double-double helped lead Brown to a win over St. Peter's. Mehta totaled another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds against URI and followed that with 13 points vs. Providence in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game. Mehta posted 21 points at Bryant, notching 16 points in the second half. She opened the season with 18 points in a win over Howard. In Brown's trip south, she scored in double figures at VCU (15) and at Morgan State (13). As a freshman, Mehta won Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors unanimously, ranked second on Brown with 13.6 points per game, and stood second in the Ivy League in 3-point field goal percentage (41.1 percent). 

Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) has averaged 12.8 points per game, has eclipsed 20 points three times this year, and has scored in double figures 18 times. She averaged 16.0 points per game in the Bears' wins over Cornell and Columbia, scoring 18 vs. the Lions and 14 vs. the Big Red. She netted 15 points vs. Dartmouth at home and added 13 points both vs. Princeton at home and at Harvard. In Brown's Ivy opening weekend, she scored 11 and 10 points respectively at Princeton and Penn. In the team's Ivy home opener vs. Yale, she totaled eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists. She poured in 22 points in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. Providence and netted 15 points in the semifinals vs. URI. Will scored 18 points against Binghamton and held Imani Watkins, America East's leading scorer, to five points in the second half. She tallied a career-high 25 points at Bryant and scored a team-high 20 points in a win over Howard in the season opener. Will eclipsed double-figures for the first time in her career against the Bison, sinking 12-of-15 free throws. She scored 18 points at VCU, 17 points vs. St. Peter's, 15 points vs. Colgate, and 14 points vs. Sacred Heart. She has substantially increased her productivity from last season after averaging 1.7 points per game as a rookie. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week and USBWA National Freshman of the Week honors after averaging 29.0 points per game and leading Brown to a 98-88 win over Princeton on Jan. 13. She scored a career-high 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting at Princeton and followed that with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field against Penn. Earlier in the week, she poured in 30 points against Rhode Island College on 11-of-17 shooting. Her 33 points against Princeton tied for the eighth most in a single game in program history and tied for the third most against an Ivy opponent in school history. 

Brown earned its first win on the road at Princeton since March 1, 2003 when the Bears topped the Tigers, 98-88, on Friday, Jan. 13. The Bears scored their most points ever against an Ivy League opponent in the victory. Brown scored over 80 points for the sixth time on the season, distributed a season-high 26 assists, and committed a season-low seven turnovers. The effort earned recognition as the Hero Sports "Offensive Performance of the Week" for Division I women's basketball. 

Sophomore forwards Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) and Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) have anchored the Bears' frontcourt. Steeves has averaged close to a double-double with 12.6 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game, ranking fourth in the Ivies in rebounding and 11th in scoring. She has tallied five double-doubles on the year and ranks ninth in the NCAA in defensive rebounds per game (7.4). Butler has added 4.6 points and 4.7 boards per game and logged her first collegiate double-double with 14 points and 11 boards in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. PC. 

Sophomore forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) has posted five double-doubles this season – with four coming in a span of six games from Nov. 20 to Dec. 8 – and ranks ninth in the NCAA and first in the Ivy League with 7.4 defensive rebounds per game. Steeves dropped a career-high 27 points at home vs. Princeton, hitting 10-of-14 field goals and a career-best 5-of-8 3-pointers. In home games against Harvard and Dartmouth she averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She paced Brown in a win at Dartmouth, compiling 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds. Steeves totaled 12 points and nine boards vs. Columbia. In Brown's Ivy home opener, she notched her first double-double in Ivy play with 10 points and 12 boards vs. Yale. Steeves nearly posted a double-double at Yale, finishing with 15 points and nine boards. She scored in double figures in both games over Brown's Ivy opening weekend with 11 and 10 points at Princeton and Penn respectively. Steeves powered the Bears against URI, scoring 22 points with 10 rebounds. She totaled a double-double with a career-high 18 rebounds and 18 points in a win at Binghamton. She posted additional double-doubles against Vermont (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Colgate (16 points and 11 rebounds). She scored 15 points at VCU, registered 11 points and nine boards at SHU, and tallied 10 points and eight boards at Bryant. She opened the year with a game-high 11 rebounds alongside nine points vs. Howard. As a freshman, Steeves won three Ivy Rookie of the Week awards, led Brown with 6.1 rebounds per game, and scored 8.0 points per game. 

Junior forward Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) returned to the Brown team in January after studying abroad in Switzerland during the fall semester and has averaged 4.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game over nine contests. In her first extended action of the year, she posted eight points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks vs. Cornell and followed that with eight points and six boards vs. Columbia. She totaled nine rebounds and six points vs. Harvard at home, tallied eight points and four blocks at Harvard, and notched eight points and four assists vs. Princeton at home. White ranks fifth on Brown's all-time blocks list with 115 career blocks. 

Sophomore forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) gained CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District accolades, the College Sports Information Directors of America announced on Feb. 9. 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. 

Brown sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) garnered Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors for the second time this year on Jan. 23 after leading Brown to a 76-73 win over Yale on Jan. 20. Mehta recorded 20 points and seven rebounds in the Bears' Ivy home opener. She shot 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3-point distance, and 4-of-4 on free throws. She added three assists in the Bears' first win over the Bulldogs since Jan. 19, 2013. 

Brown head coach Sarah Behn will appear on the Brown Bears Men's Basketball Coaches Show three times this season as part of the show's "Women's Basketball Report featuring Head Coach Sarah Behn." Coach Behn will make three cameos on the show on Jan. 18, Feb. 15, and Mar. 8. The show airs each Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. until Mar. 8 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 Digital Network

Brown won the inaugural Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament, defeating Rhode Island, 76-65, in the semifinals on Dec. 3 and topping previously undefeated Providence College, 77-70, in the championship game. Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) earned Tournament MVP honors after leading all scorers with 18.5 points per game, and sophomore forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) gained All-Tournament Team accolades. 

Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) won Ivy League Co-Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 26 after recording her second double-double of the season on 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Brown to an 80-71 win over Saint Peter's. She shot 7-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line while adding three assists and one steal. 

Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) won Ivy League Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 5 to go with Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament MVP accolades after leading all scorers at the tournament with 18.5 points per game. She scored a game-high 22 points in the 77-70 title game win over Providence, hitting 3-of-4 shots from 3-point distance. She posted 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists in a 76-65 semifinal win over Rhode Island. 

Sophomore forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) earned Ocean State Tip-Off All-Tournament Team honors after recording her first career double-double with career highs in points (14) and rebounds (11) in the title game vs. Providence. She tied her career best with 11 boards vs. Cornell and compiled 10 points and six rebounds at home vs. Dartmouth. Butler grabbed a team-high seven boards in the Ivy opener at Princeton. She added nine points and six boards in the Ocean State semifinals vs. URI. Butler corralled a career-high 11 rebounds in a win at Sacred Heart, chipping in seven points and four assists. She logged eight points and eight boards vs. Colgate. She has averaged 4.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this season. Butler played in all 28 games in 2015-16, making 10 starts with seven coming in Ivy play. She posted 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a freshman. 

Junior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) will serve as Brown's captain in 2016-17, bringing the Bears veteran leadership as the team's only member of the junior or senior class to play the entire season. Reilly has played in 79 career games with 27 starts. She ranks second in the Ivies in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3) and has started 10 games this season. She passed out a career-high eight assists at Princeton and tallied seven points and four rebounds at home vs. Dartmouth. She grabbed a career-high eight rebounds with five points and five assists vs. URI and came back with seven points and three assists vs. Providence. Reilly netted a season-high eight points vs. Manhattan and tallied five points and five rebounds in the season opener vs. Howard. She came up with a team-high four steals with five points and three assists in a win at Binghamton. 

Freshman guard Abby O'Keefe (St. Louis, Mo.) and freshman forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) have provided the Bears with a spark with both rookies making their first collegiate starts against Manhattan. O'Keefe has averaged 4.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game and tied her career high with 12 points at Princeton. She scored a season-high 12 points in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. Providence and netted 11 points vs. Yale. She logged nine points against St. Peter's, Vermont, and Howard, eight points vs. RIC, Manhattan and Binghamton, and seven points and five assists at SHU. Ryan has posted 3.9 points and 1.6 rebounds per game while connecting on 36.2 percent of her 3-point shots. She scored a season-high 13 points at Morgan State and netted 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point distance at Vermont. 

In 61 all-time meetings, Brown holds a 42-19 lead in the all-time series with Columbia including a 69-60 win over the Lions on Feb. 4 of this season. The Bears swept last year's season series taking a 73-63 victory on the road on Feb. 6 and gaining a 91-64 win at home on Mar. 4. 

Brown and Cornell have met 75 times on the hardwood with the Bears holding a 50-25 edge in the all-time series, including a 72-67 win at home on Feb. 3 of this season. The two teams split last year's two meetings with the Bears winning 91-69 in the regular season finale on Mar. 5 and with the Big Red taking an 85-70 decision in Ithaca, N.Y., on Feb. 5. 

Columbia brings a 13-12 overall record and a 3-9 Ivy League mark into the weekend, coming off setbacks to Princeton (78-54) and Penn (68-59). Camille Zimmerman leads the Ivy League with 22.9 points per game in all contests and 25.5 points per game in Ivy League games. Zimmerman has scored 20 or more points in each of her last 10 outings. 

Cornell enters the weekend with a 15-10 overall record and a 6-6 mark in Ancient Eight contests. The Big Red has won three of its last four games, including victories over Harvard (57-52) and Princeton (55-44). Nia Marshall ranks third in the Ivy League in scoring with 15.4 points per game to go with 6.7 rebounds per game as part of a starting lineup that regularly features five seniors. 

Brown will have at least six of its Ivy League Digital Network broadcasts simulcast on ESPN3 over the course of the season. The Bears will appear on the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" four times at home – vs. Yale (Jan. 20), Cornell (Feb. 3), Penn (Feb. 17), and Dartmouth (Feb. 24) – and twice on the road – at Harvard (Feb. 10) and Columbia (Mar. 3). Additionally, the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament, set for 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Mar. 11, will appear on ESPN3 with the championship game, set for 4 p.m. on Mar. 12, scheduled for ESPNU. 

Brown will compete for the opportunity to play in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. from Saturday, March 11 to Sunday, March 12. The top four teams in the regular season standings will earn berths in the tournament with the tournament's champion gaining the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. Saturday's semifinals will take place at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3 with Sunday's championship game set for 4 p.m. and ESPNU. 

Brown's regular season will come to a close at Cornell on Saturday. The Bears enter the weekend with a chance of qualifying for the inaugural Ivy League Tournament from March 11-12. 

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.