January 21, 2002

W. Basketball Climbs To First Place in Ivies League

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The Cornell women’s basketball team extended its conference unbeaten streak to three by defeating an underclassed Columbia squad 70-56 in New York City on Saturday. The Red now holds sole possession of first place in the Ivy league, one game ahead of both Harvard and Princeton.

The Red opened the contest on a 15-2 run, keyed by senior Do Steven’s long-range jump shooting and incessant defensive pressure. Stevens had two 3-pointers over the four minute stretch and led the effort on the other side of the court, creating numerous Columbia turnovers.

“We came out and played solid defense,” head coach Marnie Dacko said of the game’s first few minutes, “we took control right from the tap.”

However, that control would wane as the Red offense went dry over the game’s next seven minutes. Columbia seized the opportunity and clawed its way back, trailing by three at the half.

The second half began with an offensive revival, as the Red went on an 11-3 run in the half’s first three minutes. Senior Breean Walas scored 8 of those points and seemingly didn’t stop scoring until the final buzzer sounded.

Walas was 9-9 from the free throw line in the second half, including six straight from three fouls on consecutive offensive trips. She also grabbed a career-best 13 boards and ended one point shy from her career high in points with 24.

“Bree was outstanding,” Dacko said of her senior tri-captain, “she leapt above and beyond her opponents tonight and rebounded extremely well.”

The Lions tried to mount a final comeback with five minutes left but were denied when shots by sophomore Karen Force, and juniors Ify Ossai and Lynell Davis re-opened the Cornell lead to eight points.

The Lions’ woes were the result of their 4-10 debacle at the charity stripe — compared with Cornell’s 15-19 mark — and lack of offensive potency with only one player in double figures — Patricia Kern with 11 points.

The win pushes the Red’s overall record to 9-7, 3-0 Ivy and drops Columbia to 7-8, 1-2 Ivy.

The victory also extended Cornell’s all-time series advantage against Columbia to 29-12.

The Red has now won eight of its last 10 games since Dec. 1 and an remarkable nine of its last 11 Ivy league contests.

“We are taking it one game at a time and learning a lot from each contest,” said Dacko who went on to admit that, “it’s a whole lot more fun learning from a win than a loss.”

The Red looks to sustain its winning ways and league dominance as it hosts Columbia in a rematch of the in-state rivals at 5:00 p.m. this Saturday.

Archived article by Scott Jones