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Mia Mascone led the nation with 6.53 points per game in 2024.

NCAA Rewind: Brown, Dowd Exceeded All Expectations

June 17, 2024
Kenny DeJohn
Emma C. Marion / Brown Athletics

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: unranked/also considered
2024 record: 10-5 (3-4 Ivy League)

What went right: When you consider the previous decade of Brown women’s lacrosse history, just about everything went right. After the hiring of Katrina Dowd, Brown won 10 games — its most since 1997 — and was a real threat in the Ivy League. The Bears were even one of the last teams to miss the NCAA tournament field, a testament to the competitive schedule they put together.

Brown’s offense ranked fifth nationally (16.27 goals per game), and Mia Mascone led the nation with 6.53 points per game (98 points in 15 contests). Dowd’s offensive flare certainly rubbed off on her new team.

What went wrong: The defense was not nearly as good as the offense, ranking 71st nationally (12.53 goals per game allowed). That led to some high-scoring losses (18-17 at Harvard, 16-15 vs. Notre Dame, 23-10 vs. Princeton, 19-13 at Penn). Granted, each of those four teams was competitive in 2024, but in the cases of Harvard and Notre Dame, a stop or two along the way could have resulted in a marquee win.

Much of the defensive inconsistency can be attributed to a goalie unit that struggled mightily. Three goalies — Claire Mahoney, Tara Reilly and Margaret Woodberry — started games in 2024, and when including the 19:41 played by Elissa Byrne, Brown goalies combined to save 30.1 percent of shots.

Season highlight: As strange as it might sound, losing 16-15 to Notre Dame showed quite a lot of people that Brown wasn’t just a team beating up on lesser competition. Dowd’s team could very much hang with top-level competition, like when the Bears pushed the Irish to the brink in the fourth quarter of that March 13 game in Providence.

Mascone had six goals and one assist in that one, doing everything she could to try and will Brown to a win that likely would have cemented its spot in the NCAA tournament months later.

Verdict: How is it possible to deem 2024 anything but a massive success for Brown? Dowd, Mascone and Co. defied all reasonable expectations, setting up what could be a new chapter in Brown women’s lacrosse history.

The big question now, though, is about sustainability. Mascone was a senior, leaving the offense in the hands of Annie Burton (21G, 38A) and Greta Criqui (46G). And the goalie/defense situation must be addressed, too. Still, there’s reason for optimism in Providence.