February 9, 2004

W. Hoops Splits Against Ivy Foes

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Despite mediocre first-half showings in each of its games this weekend, the women’s basketball team (8-11, 3-3 Ivy) used strong second halves to gain the split against Brown and Yale . The Red was unable to comeback from a 14-point halftime defect against Brown (10-9, 3-3), falling 68-56. In the game against Yale (3-16, 0-6), senior Lauren Kilduff delivered her best performance of the season, scoring 21 points to lead the Red to a 70-63 victory.

“We’ve talked about the first four minutes being really important every game,” said head coach Dayna Smith after the loss to Brown. “We’re getting really good looks in the first four minutes, but we’re not hitting them. Maybe it’s our preparation, our pre-game warm-up, what [the players] are thinking before the game, but people need to show up and play.”

Despite outscoring the Bears 29-27 in the second half, Cornell fell too far behind in the first 20 minutes, and was unable to overcome Brown’s early lead. The Bears came out roaring, taking four shots before the Red even had one. Within the critical first four minutes in which the Red has struggled, Brown had taken a 7-0 lead, with five points coming from the hot hand of guard Tanara Golston, who had 17 total on the night.

The Red battled back and came within two to make the score 7-5, but this was as close as the team would get for the rest of the game. Cornell struggled to hit shots, and, by the 10-minute mark, Brown was up, 21-10. The Red matched baskets with the Bears from this point on, but still found itself down, 43-29, when the halftime buzzer sounded.

“I think Brown came out very aggressive,” said Smith. “I think we gave into it. We were tentative. We weren’t looking aggressively at the hoop. When we took the ball in, a couple of times we missed some easy lay-ups. We’ve got to find a way to score no matter how the defense is playing. You’re not going to win any games shooting 23 percent.”

The Red came out strong in the second half, led by senior tri-captain Karen Force, who had 16 on the night. With 8:49 remaining in the game, the Red was within six points, down only 50-44. However, this proximity seemed to only awaken the sleeping Bears, as Brown surged ahead, never allowing Cornell to get any closer.

After Brown’s Ragan Kenner scored her only point of the night from the charity stripe to make the score 51-44, Brown center Holly Robertson forced a turnover, and the Bears resumed their first-half form, as the game ended with the score 69-56.

“It’s the same thing that happened in the Dartmouth game,” explained Smith. “We cut it to six, and then in the next three possessions we [made] really poor decisions — two turnovers and a shot that we shouldn’t have taken. We’re making poor decisions in crucial moments