Despite some improved offensive numbers, the women’s basketball team continued to struggle through its conference schedule, falling over the weekend in back-to-back games against Yale and Brown.
The beginning of Ivy League play in January looked promising for the Red, which managed consecutive wins against Columbia and Dartmouth. It has all been downhill since. Including this weekend, Cornell has now lost three games in a row by an average of more than 17 points per contest.
On the year, the Red is 5-15 overall, with a 2-4 conference record.
The Red’s familiar second-half slump was on full display against the Bulldogs on Friday. Cornell began the game strong, keeping the opening half competitive and playing tenacious defense. At halftime, the visiting squad had a slim three-point lead, as Cornell held Yale in check, holding the latter to a measly 23 percent from the field.
After the break, however, it all began to unravel. Yale’s offense picked up, and the Bulldogs shot at a much-improved 38 percent clip. Cornell’s offense throughout the second half was streaky and inconsistent, suffering at one point from a four-minute scoreless drought. Despite a late push, the Red was unable to close the deficit and was ultimately defeated, 57-49.
“I don’t think there’s anything in particular [about second halves],” said sophomore forward Clare Fitzpatrick. “I think we just have 10-minute lapses … where we’re not at 100 percent. We just have those short lapses that really hurt us.”
“We’ll play an amazing first 16 minutes [of a half], then go into a slump in the final four,” said sophomore guard Taylor Flynn. “It’s lows and those types of points in a game where the other team is able to come back.”
The win improved Yale’s record to 8-11 overall and 4-1 in Ivy League play.
That inconsistent second half seemed to spill over into the start of the Red’s game the following night against perennially mediocre Brown. Cornell managed only seven made field goals in the entirety of the first half, and went 0-for-7 from behind the arc. After the opening tip, Brown quickly built a double-digit lead and, despite some good stretches for Cornell, the visiting team would not surrender the lead for the entire game, wrapping up its fourth win on the year, and its first against an Ivy League opponent.
The one bright spot for Cornell on this night was the outstanding performance of Fitzpatrick. The sophomore led all scorers with 23 points to go along with seven rebounds — four on the offensive end — and three steals.
When asked about the game, Fitzpatrick was quick to give credit where she felt it was due — her teammates.
“I just think my teammates really looked for me in the post,” she said.
Flynn lauded the play of Fitzpatrick, “Clare’s been fantastic so far … she’s such an asset to our team, such an asset to our program.”
Cornell will leave the confines of Newman Arena this upcoming weekend as it travels to take on the two Ivy perennial basketball powerhouses — Penn and Princeton — in search of its first road win of the season.
Cornell will tip-off against the Penn Quakers on Friday at 7 p.m. at the famous Palestra. Penn is 7-14 on the year and in search of its second Ivy League win.
Penn is coming off a heart-wrenching weekend of basketball, losing back-to-back games to Dartmouth and Harvard by a combined seven points. The Quakers fell to the Big Green, 68-65, and then to the Crimson a day later, 88-84, in double overtime.
Freshman Allysa Baron has been outstanding all season long for Penn and is a leading candidate for Ivy League Rookie of the Year. She is averaging more than 17 points, and 4.5 rebounds per game this season.
Cornell head coach Dayna Smith, who was an assistant for Penn for three seasons, will be looking for her eighth win against her former team.
On Saturday, Cornell will travel back up north on I-95 to Princeton, N.J., to take on the Tigers. The Red will be heavy underdogs against Princeton, which is having an excellent season. The Tigers are 15-4 on the year and 4-1 in the conference.
Princeton’s offense has been impressive all year, boasting three players in double-digits, led by Addie Micir (13.3 ppg.).
Tip-off on Saturday will be at 6 p.m.
Original Author: Holden Steinhauer