The University of Rhode Island’s women’s basketball team failed to extend a three-game winning streak, as they dropped both games they played in the inaugural Ocean State Tip-off Classic, losing to Brown University, 76-65 on Saturday, and then falling short against Bryant University the following day.
The Rams (4-5) traveled to Providence’s Pizzitola Center looking to claim interstate superiority as well as adding to their recent string of wins, but struggled to find their rhythm from the onset of their battle with the Brown Bears. URI trailed by double digits before the end of the first quarter, and Brown was cruising to victory at halftime, up 48-33. The 3-point shot was unkind to both teams, but it proved especially troublesome for Rhode Island who made the perimeter attack a focal point, shooting 4-of-23 from beyond the arc.
The shooting struggles persisted into the third quarter, with the Bears amassing a 22-point lead. URI appeared to be without a pulse, but on the strength of junior guard Charise Wilson and some timely defensive plays, the Rams climbed their way back, chipping away at the substantial deficit. They trailed 62-49 going into the final frame, but Brown’s lead ballooned back to 17. URI again revived itself, however, pulling within seven with just over three minutes left in the game. The Bears countered right back, forcing their way into the paint for some insurance buckets and held Rams to two points the rest of the way.
A positive in the defeat came when Wilson moved into twelfth place on Rhode Island’s all-time scoring list. She also tallied eight rebounds and two steals.
Following the ill-fated comeback, URI sought to get back in the win column with a meeting against Bryant on Sunday. The team relied on their immense defensive pressure, but still lacked offensive firepower. Wilson was largely a non-factor on the offensive end, with all six of her points coming in the second half, but she did have five of the team’s 11 steals. Dina Motrechuk enjoyed an historic block party, tying the program’s single-game record with six swats. The sophomore center added 10 points and six rebounds.
The game swung back and forth, with several ties and lead changes coming in the first half. Morgan Johnson, who led the team with 11 points, erupted for three 3-point baskets, as both teams played themselves to a 36-36 tie at half.
Rhode Island scored only 20 points in the second half, and went without a made 3-point bucket for the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs took advantage and maintained a steady, yet slim lead. Wilson awoke with about four and a half minutes remaining in the game, and gave the Rams a 52-51 lead after back-to-back jumpers. Bryant went on a 6-0 run to halt URI’s momentum and regain a lead they would never again relinquish.
The Rams return to the Ryan Center tonight to host Michigan State University, a team on the fringes of the national polls, in what will be a difficult test for the home team.
Former URI men’s soccer player, Geoff Cameron was named a finalist for the Unites States Male Soccer Player of the Year Award. The native of Attleboro, Massachusetts played for the Rams from 2006-07 when he earned All-Conference First team honors, as well as being named Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year. He was selected by the Houston Dynamo in the 2008 MLS Draft, and is currently a member of the U.S. National Team and the Premier League’s Stoke City.
Cameron, a 31-year-old defender, is one of five Americans in the running for the award, and is coming off a stretch in which he has seen the most international action of his career, playing in 16 games this year and every minute of the Copa America Centenario. Cameron will have to rely on a combination of his peers, coaches and members of the media in order to be crowned America’s best for the first time in his career.
Soon-to-be graduating volleyball player Layne Self received AVCA All-East Regional Honors for her productive senior season. Self is in second place on the all-time list for most recorded blocks in program history. She displayed remarkable consistency in her last year, finishing in the top five in hitting percentage and blocks per set in the A-10.
Self will leave behind a lasting legacy, as she was a member of the most prosperous senior class ever to grace Keaney Gym, as well as a key player on head coach Bob Schneck’s last team. Self is the first player since 2001 to receive recognition from the AVCA.