The women’s basketball team split a pair of games this weekend, emerging with a winning record. The Red (12-11, 5-5 Ivy) lost on Friday night to Penn, 59-54. A slow start was too much for the women to overcome. Saturday night was a different story, as the team pulled together to beat Princeton 65-66.
“We are disappointed with the loss to Penn (17-5, 9-0 Ivy). We have the ability to beat them,” said freshman guard Karen Force.
Penn won its 16th straight game, Cornell’s second loss in the streak.
The Palestra in Philadelphia was intimidating, and Cornell was slow to get into the game facing the top team in the Ivy League. After the first 12 minutes the team was down 16-3. The women struggled the rest of the half, finishing with a 31-16 score and a disappointing 37-19 deficit in the rebounding column.
“We came out too slow in the beginning of the game. Then we forced it in too much, and we took shots the hard way instead of taking what the defense gave us,” Force continued.
The Red managed to turn things around during half-time. The women played the type of basketball the team has been striving for all season.
“The second half [of the Penn game] was intense. It was some of our best basketball all season. If we played that way both halves, we would have killed them,” commented sophomore forward Lynell Davis.
A 23-7 run shocked the Quakers, and Cornell pulled ahead for a 39-38 lead. The game stayed close to the end. Sophomore Katie Romey nailed a three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining, bringing the Red within one with a 55-54 score. The death knell for the Red was four turnovers in the final minute, and Penn held on at the end to get the victory.
Poor shooting plagued both teams, with Cornell going 23-68 on 33.8-percent for field goals. The Quakers were worse, hitting only 29.9-percent of their field goals, making 20-67. Normally a highlight for the team, free throw shooting was at 50.0-percent on the night. Junior guard Deborah ‘Do’ Stevens and Force were the only members of the squad to hit in the double digits, Stevens hitting 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Force added 12 points and pick up six boards. Senior center and captain Jennifer Linker helped out with nine points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot.
Rebounding, something the Red has been improving on in the last few weeks, was a battle once again with Penn out rebounding Cornell 57-45 in the game.
“Against Princeton and being on the road, coming off a tough loss to Penn, we came out hard,” Force noted. “Our first road win meant a lot to us.”
Facing the Tigers at Jadwin Gym, Cornell was looking to even its Ivy record. Princeton was coming off a rough loss to Columbia, losing in overtime off a basket with 1.5 seconds remaining. Princeton has had a long season, with a 1-20, 1-7 Ivy record.
Lynell Davis dominated the game, scoring a career-high 23 points. On 9-16 shooting and going 5-6 from the line, Davis dominated the basket. She also was in control of the inside game, grabbing five rebounds.
“Penn had a tougher inside game and Princeton is more of a three-point team, so I was able to penetrate more. I have been working out hard with Karen Force and the coaches this week, and I guess it paid off,” Davis commented.
Cornell was ahead 30-21 at the half, but the game was close, tied 44-44 with 8:22 remaining. The Tigers were neck and neck with the Red going into the final minute.
“We almost let the game slip away, but we rallied,” Davis acknowledged. “In the second half we turned around, we really picked up defensively. It helped our offense run smoothly,” Davis continued.
Pairs of free throws at the end of the game by Stevens and Linker sealed the game for the Red. Stevens total for the game was 12 points, and a team-high four steals. Junior guard Breean Walas and Force added eight points each.
The team got its rebounding back under control, grabbing 33 to the Tigers 20 boards. The Red also improved on its shooting 49.0-percent from the field and a better 68.8-percent from the line.
“With a road win, we are much happier and enthused. We know we are capable of winning our last four games. We are hungry for four another four wins. If we go out strong and play hard — keep fighting — we should win,” Force looked ahead.
“We are looking to win on the road again, now we know we can. Next weekend we need two big wins. We just beat Brown and Yale, now we have to take them on at their places. Then we want to go 4-0 to end the season,” Davis ended.
Cornell is hitting the road for the last time this season, with road games versus Brown and Yale next weekend. The Red needs two more wins to beat its record of wins in a season.
Archived article by Cammy Kandiko