By OLIVIA MATTYASOVSZKY
This past week, the women’s basketball team traveled all over the East Coast for Thanksgiving break, first playing University of Buffalo Upstate and then Marshall University on Friday.
Playing the University of Buffalo was going to be a challenge and the Red was preparing for the team’s speed and agility on both sides of the ball. In order to counteract that speed, the Red worked on its defensive play as a team, and on the other side of the court, getting the ball off the perimeter and into the paint, where Cornell had the advantage in height.
Forwards junior Nia Marshall and sophomore Christine Ehland led the Red in scoring, finishing with nine points each. Freshman forward Caroline Shelquist added eight of her own, keeping Cornell’s numbers solidly with the bigs.
“We needed inside points, but they were effective with their double teams unfortunately,” said senior Maddie Campbell. “Our shots didn’t fall and we were out-rebounded. Overall it was a tough loss we are trying to learn from.”
Despite having great possession time, Cornell’s shots just could not find their mark, and the team dropped its first game of the break to the Bills, 41-59.
“Defense has been something we have really focused on so far this year,” said junior guard Kerri Moran. “We knew the Buffalo players were fast, especially the guards, and we prepared to play team defense, not just one-on-one defense. Our shooting percentage wasn’t great against Buffalo, but we also didn’t finish plays where we needs to finish them and ultimately let them get too much offensively and we didn’t capitalize defensively.”
Though team defense was the focus, junior guard Megan LeDuc took three defensive charges for the team, as well as doling out the majority of the team’s assists.
Just three days later, the team traveled down to West Virginia to play the Thundering Herd. The home team entered the contest at 4-0 and after two relentless halves, extended that streak to 5-0, beating Cornell, 73-47.
The Thundering Herd proved to be the opposite kind of team from the Bills, known for jacking up threes and pushing the tempo on offense compared to the high pressure defense the Bills showed the Red earlier in the week. With such aggressive offense, Cornell got aggressive itself.
Marshall had four fouls during the game and the three other forwards, Campbell, Caroline Shelquist and Nicholle Aston all had three apiece. The fouls limited their playing time and gave Marshall the momentum it needed to keep racking up the score.
“After our loss against Buffalo, we really wanted to key in on defense and running our offense efficiently,” Moran said. “We also wanted to maintain 40 minutes of solid energy. Throughout the game we had sparks of good defense or we ran the floor well, but we stopped playing well when Marshall took away our strengths.”
Campbell said the Red’s focus was on containing the players and the tempo of the game.
“We were focused on containing their players since we knew going in they were fast and like to get to the basket,” she said. “Offensively, we were hoping to control the tempo and make them make mistakes on defense.”
On offense, Cornell’s guards took the reins this time, with both Moran and LeDuc notching nine points, while the bigs rebounded down low. Marshall and Campbell had six rebounds each.
Despite the loss, the two teams the Red faced this past week offer unique ways to learn going forward.
“Going forward, we are obviously disappointed with the results of this week,” Campbell said. “Now we have to focus on learning from our loss and not making the same mistakes in the future.”