NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Iona Gaels had no answer for 6-3 center Brooke Bjelko who led the Bryant University women's basketball team with a career-best 29 points and 16 rebounds. The Bulldogs rolled past the Gaels, 62-46, for the first road win of the season.
It was the second quarter that put Bryant over the edge when they outscored Iona, 24-12. What was more impressive was the 19-1 Black and Gold run to start the second frame, which left the Gaels without a field goal for the first seven minutes. The Bulldogs shot 58.3% from the field in the second quarter which aided in Bryant's best shooting percentage of the season at 42.3%.
The senior duo of Kandis Taylor and Bjelko posted double-digits in the non-conference victory as Taylor was one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Bryant 62, Iona 46
Records: Bryant (2-2), Iona (0-2)
Location: Hynes Athletic Center (New Rochelle, N.Y)
- Bryant separated from Iona with a dominating second quarter. The Bulldogs outscored the Gaels 24-12 in the second frame shooting 58.3% from the field compared to Iona's 23.1%. Iona did not hit a field goal until there was 3:26 left in the second quarter.
How It Happened
- Both teams battled back and forth in the opening frame but it was the Gaels who came out of the first ten minutes with the lead, 11-8. Bjelko led the Bulldogs scoring six of Bryant's first eight.
- The Bulldogs erupted in the second quarter with a 19-1 run. Bryant's offense shot 7-of-12 in the second frame but it was Bryant's defense that held Iona scoreless from the field for the first seven minutes until the 3:26 mark. Nicole Gallagher and Bjelko each contributed eight points apiece in Bryant's 24 points.
- Bryant grew to its biggest lead of the half with 16 points above the Gaels, 28-12, but Iona cut it to single-digits, 32-23, at the end of the half with three-straight free throws. Five of the Gaels' 12 points came from the foul line in the second quarter.
- Iona started the second half with two quick buckets, but the run didn't last long when Bjelko forced back-to-back and-one plays to give Bryant six-straight points. Shannon O'Connor added two free throws to polish off the eight-point run.
- Fatou Jallow drained a corner three in front of Bryant's bench at the buzzer to close out the third quarter and increase Bryant's momentum as they headed into the fourth quarter, 49-33.
- Bjelko and Taylor dominated the fourth frame as the only Bulldogs to score in the final ten minutes. Taylor took off for eight points while Bjelko added five to help Bryant maintain their lead and close out the game.
- The Bulldogs shot 42.3% from the field (22-52) and 27.3% from three-point range (3-11).
- Bryant outrebounded the Gaels by double-digits, 45-33.
- Iona was held to 29.8% from the field shooting 17-for-57. The Gaels went 9-for-16 from the foul line.
- Bjelko closed out the night with 29 points (12-23), 16 rebounds, and three blocks.
- Taylor posted 10 points and was one rebound short of a double-double with nine. The senior also dished out six assists and added five steals.
- Jallow contributed nin points off three-of-nine shooting from the field.
- Gallagher posted eight points with two three-pointers and a pair from the charity stripe.
- Blanca Chasco, Mariona Planes Fortuny, and O'Connor each added two points apiece. O'Connor also added three steals and six rebounds.
- Bjelko's 29 points mark a career-best. She also tied her career-high with 16 rebounds for her third double-double of the season and eighth of her career.
- Taylor posted multiple career-highs including a career-best 10 points for her first double-digit scoring performance of her career. Her five steals also marks a career-high and she tied her best mark with six assists for the third time across her four years.
- Fortuny notched her first career basket in the Black and Gold.
- The Bulldogs break the all-time series tie with the Gaels and now lead, 2-1.
Bryant kicks off the Northeast Conference schedule at home with St. Francis Brooklyn on December 8 at 7 p.m.