The Cornell women’s basketball team (2-2, 0-0 Ivy) is hosting its first home tournament of the season in the Cornell Classic, an annual gathering on the East Hill of schools from the Northeast.
Central Connecticut State brings an experienced squad with 10 returnees and three freshmen, and Cornell should expect to see the upperclassmen on the court. The Blue Devils will look to leadership from their four seniors.
Qualishia Zyhier, a 6’2″ senior forward, will be a factor under the basket both offensively and defensively as she pulled down a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game and scored in double-digits in 11 out of 18 games she played.
Senior backcourt mates Nikki Flocco and Danielle Owdienko will work to move the ball and dish out passes for the Devils. Owdienko is a three-year starter and was the only player on the court for the opening jumpball in every game last season. Flocco and Owiendko are the top two on the team in assists-per-game with 3.5 and 3.1, respectively.
Guard Karla Solis rounds out the class of ’01. Battling a meniscus tear, Solis saw limited action last year, averaging a brief five minutes-per-game, so she will provide guidance off the court
The Devils are hoping to improve on last season’s 9-19 mark, but had trouble getting this year off to a good start in their first game. Against Hartford, Connecticut could not stay with its in-state rivals and lost 78-48.
Overall, the team hit 34.8% of its shots from the field and went a solid 14-for-16 (87.5%) from the charity stripe. The squad also grabbed 30 total rebounds, 11 offensive and 19 defensive, but was outmatched as the Hawks reached for a total of 39.
Zyhier lead the team with 12 points and five boards, while Flocco added five points and lead with three assists. Zyhier was the only Devil to score in double-digits.
In today’s early match, Niagara will face Bucknell at 5 p.m. in Newman Arena.
Niagara has opened its season 1-2, the win coming in its most recent game against Akron. Putting up average numbers from the field, three-point range, and the charity stripe, the Purple Eagles were led by junior forward Jessie O’Donohue with 16 points and a team-high eight boards. Sophomore guard Katie Murphy was the high-scorer with 17 points on the night.
Bucknell has started the year with a strong 4-0 showing, achieving this despite a lack of senior leadership on the court. The Bisons’ leader comes in sophomore guard Molly Creamer. For the season, she leads the team in numerous statistical categories, including minutes-per-game (37.3), free throws (85%) and rebounds-per-game (8.5).
Tonight’s match should give Cornell the opportunity to work on several areas it hopes to improve upon. Head coach Marnie Dacko has expressed concern about opponents nabbing more offensive rebounds than the Red, which gives Cornell fewer opportunities to score on second and third chance shots.
The temptation to foul opponents has challenged the Red, as the difference in losses to Army and Georgia Tech have come from the opposing foul line. Cornell saw slight progress against Colgate in the first half, but relapsed to give the challengers 25 chances at the free-throw line in the second half.
The Red’s next match comes on December 17th against St. Bonaventure, followed by games against Bradley and Loyola on the 20th and 22nd, respectively. Cornell will resume play Bucknell on January 6th and will play the 8th against Stony Brook.
The Ivy season will start on January 12th with a home game against Princeton, and Pennsylvania will travel to Ithaca for a match on the 13th.
Archived article by Katherine Granish