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February 6, 2012

Bulldogs stumble against Blackbirds

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Bryant University women's basketball trimmed a double-digit deficit to five at the break, but LIU Brooklyn pulled away in the second half, handing the Bulldogs a 50-41 defeat on Monday evening at the Wellness Center. Bryant falls to 13-10 on the season with an even 6-6 mark in the Northeast Conference.

Just one Bulldog managed to reach double digits, as junior Katie Whittington (Twinsburg, Ohio), finished with 12 points while going 2-for-7 from long range, accounting for all of the team's damage from the outside.

Bryant finished the evening just 2-of-9 (.222) from three-point range and even worse from the field, as the Bulldogs set a new season low in shooting percentage by going 13-of-60 (.217) from the field. The visitors did not help themselves at the free throw line either, finishing the game just 13-of-21 (.619) from the stripe.

Preseason All-NEC Team member Ashley Palmer led all players with a 17-point outing to pace the Blackbirds (17-7, 6-6 NEC) to a crucial conference victory. Ebony Davis boasted 11 boards for the home side and was one of three different Blackbird players to finish with two blocks, as LIU Brooklyn finished the game with a 7-3 advantage in rejections.

Senior forward Brittany Stahura (Amsterdam, N.Y.) finished with a game-high 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs while chipping in three points. Junior Meredith Soper (Winthrop, Mass.) produced an even eight-point, eight-rebound outing, while classmate Danielle Douglas (Silver Spring, Md.) saw a six-game streak of scoring in double digits come to an end after chipping in eight points for the Bulldogs.

The Blackbirds played a physical game and controlled post play by virtue of a 50-40 advantage in rebounding and a 24-18 edge in points scored in the paint. Both teams finished with five steals, while Bryant dished a season-low five assists over the course of the game.

The Bulldogs started the game cold from the field (2-for-9) and fell behind by as many as 11 points in the first frame before closing out the half with five straight points over the final 4:16 to enter the break down by a 22-17 margin.

After Douglas scored the first basket of the half and Whittington made her first three-pointer of the evening to cut the lead to four (26-22) with 16:59 to go, the Blackbirds pulled ahead over the ensuing 10 minutes before taking a game-high 13-point lead (42-28) at the 7:28 mark of the second frame.

From that point, the Bulldogs managed just three more field goals the rest of the way, as the Blackbirds used a strong defensive effort and benefited from the visitors' cold shooting touch from the field to hang on for the win.

Bryant wraps up a three-game road trip with a single game against league-leading Sacred Heart on Saturday, Feb. 11 with tipoff set for 12 p.m. That game marks the beginning of NEC Rivalry Week, as the Pioneers will complete the home-and-home series on Wednesday, Feb. 15, when the Bulldogs battle Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. at the Chace Athletic Center.

For continuing coverage of Bryant University women's basketball, check back at www.bryantbulldogs.com; also follow the Bulldogs on Twitter @BryantAthletics.

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