It was another unfortunate weekend of more of the same for the Cornell women’s basketball team, as the Red suffered two consecutive losses for the second week in a row.
The weekend’s slate of Ivy League games — both of which occurred on the road — dropped Cornell (5-17, 2-16 Ivy League) to the No. 7 spot in the Ancient Eight. The Red dropped its first contest at Penn, 51-33, followed by a disappointing loss to Princeton the following night, 65-43.
On Friday, the Red travelled to the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. to take on the Quakers, who have had their fair share of struggles this season as well. Both teams entered the contest with losing records and had been marred by poor play on offense in the weeks leading up to the game, which was evident in early goings. Scoring a combined 44 points in the first half, both teams shot poorly from the floor — Cornell at a dismal 22 percent clip and the Quakers at a marginally better 34 percent.
The visiting Red was completely out of rhythm throughout the game, recording only seven assists while committing 21 turnovers. Not a single Cornell scorer ended the day in double-digits, with sophomore guard Taylor Flynn’s seven points on 3-of-7 shooting off the bench leading the way.
Penn forward Jess Knapp and guard Alyssa Baron scored a game high 10 points each and pulled in a combined eight rebounds. With the win, the Quakers (8-12, 2-4) improved its standing in the conference and showed the Red that it still has much work to do in improving the fundamentals of its offense’s execution.
“I think it comes down to hitting shots,” said sophomore forward Clare Fitzpatrick. “We were really inconsistent from our outside game and inside game.”
“The biggest thing is hitting open shots,” Flynn added. “We have moments when we execute our offense perfectly, but just can’t finish the play.”
In a season that has been characterized by inconsistent offense, it was poor play on defense that ultimately doomed the team in its second game of the weekend, against the Princeton Tigers. Facing one of the better Ivy teams, the Red hung in tight throughout a well-played first half in Princeton, N.J., trailing at halftime by only two points. Holding the defending Ivy League champs to only 23 points before intermission, Cornell showcased some of its high-energy defense that has been a bright spot in a challenging season.
In the second-half, however, things began to unwind. The Princeton offense began to hit its stride and was exceptionally proficient, connecting on almost 60 percent of its field goal attempts during the later period. Cornell had no answer for Princeton center Devona Allgood, who led all scorers with 22 points to go along with a game-high eight boards.
Fitzpatrick had a second impressive performance in as many weeks, leading the Red with 16 points in 32 minutes of play.
Despite picking up another loss, the game did provide a few bright spots to help the squad build the confidence and consistency it is going to need to make it through the rest of the year.
“Princeton won the conference last year, so for us to be down by two at halftime, [that’s] something for us to build on,” Flynn said. “We have the capability to beat a competitor like Princeton.”
With the Ivy League schedule now halfway through, it is clear that the team’s young roster is still adjusting to the tiring conference play format.
“This is how the Ivy League is … it’s not something that many of the girls have been accustomed to. You have to bring it both nights,” Flynn said.
The Red will hit the road once again this weekend, facing the Harvard Crimson at 7 p.m. on Friday in Cambridge, Mass. and the Dartmouth Green at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hanover, N.H.