February 24, 2003

W. Cagers Sweep Two

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The women’s basketball team broke its four-game losing streak in a big way this past weekend, beating Yale and Brown in its final home weekend of the season. Junior Karen Force was the highlight for the Red (9-14, 3-7 Ivy), scoring 35 points on the weekend.

Friday night, the Red jumped out to a 38-23 halftime lead against Yale (4-18, 1-8). The Elis came out hot in the second half with a 12-4 run. However, Cornell scored the next nine points to open up the biggest lead of the game, 51-35.

Cornell maintained a sizable lead until the final minutes of regulation. The Bulldogs were again able to put together a modest run, thanks in part to three turnovers and two fouls by the Red.

“We had a big lead and we knew that Yale was going to come out strong [in the second,]” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We just try to keep stressing to them that we need to play hard.”

With 22 seconds remaining, Yale’s Morgan Richards hit a 3-pointer to cut the Cornell lead to 59-53. However, Force sank two free throws to ice the game. She scored 20 points with four assists and four steals on the game.

After shooting a brilliant 56 percent from the floor in the first half, Cornell cooled down considerably in the second, shooting only 21 percent.

Force’s hot shooting continued Saturday night as the Red faced off against second-place Brown with a chance to play spoiler. And spoil it did.

In perhaps its best performance all year, the Red upended the Bears (13-10, 7-3) 78-59.

After the game went back and forth during the opening minutes of the first half, the Red jumped out to an early 16-11 lead to spark a dominant half, which ended with a 38-26 Cornell lead.

Cornell opened the second half just as strong as the first, scoring the first two baskets before teasing Brown with chances to cut the lead. However, the Red shut the door on any chances for a Brown comeback, going on a 17-2 run about midway through the half to open up a 61-34 lead.

“Coming in it felt like the team was ready,” said Smith. “Watching the tape from our first game against Brown, we saw that the team did a lot of good things. We’re a better team than we were a month ago, and once we started getting a lead, it was the most confidence I’ve seen all year.”

Force gave the Red its biggest lead of the game, 66-38, with a layup with six minutes left.

Force had a near triple-double, tallying 15 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds. Junior Dani Aretino added nine points and 11 rebounds. Senior Lynell Davis added 12 points and seven rebounds after scoring 17 and nine respectively the night before.

“Karen’s been so consistent of late,” Smith lauded. “She’s playing well, she’s playing smart basketball.”

Coupled with the loss and Harvard’s 72-60 win against Princeton, Brown fell to three games out of first place in the Ivy League with two games remaining.

“Obviously it feels great to get a couple of wins,” said Smith. “It shows them the hard work pays off.”

The Red will wrap up its season next weekend when it travels to Harvard and Dartmouth.

Archived article by Owen Bochner