In its first road games in more than three weeks, the women’s basketball team (8-13, 3-5 Ivy) dropped a pair of road contests to Princeton and Penn this weekend. The Red could not overcome a 19-point deficit against the Tigers (6-14, 3-4 Ivy) on Friday night, falling 74-67. The following night, the Quakers’ foul-shooting proved to be the difference, as Penn (13-7, 7-0 Ivy) maintained its perfect record in conference play with a 72-62 win.
On Friday night, senior tri-captain Katie Romey and Princeton’s Rebecca Brown dominated the scoring for their respective teams in the first half. With the Red holding a 20-17 lead with under seven minutes remaining, the Tigers went on a 13-1 run. Cornell responded with a 7-0 run, but Princeton answered back with a 7-0 run of its own to go into the break up, 37-28.
Brown got hot in the second half, scoring the Tigers’ first nine points after the break. Princeton stretched its lead to 55-36 with a little over 10 minutes left in the game. However, the Red cut into the Tigers’ lead with an 8-0 run followed by a 9-0 run in the closing minutes. With 34 seconds remaining, Cornell found itself down by 70-65, but the Tigers put the game away, hitting six of eight attempts from the free-throw line.
“[Princeton] was very active on the defensive end. On the offensive end, they keep you moving, they keep you on your toes,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “For the most part this season, we’ve done a fair job of keeping the big forwards under control, but I thought we allowed too many easy baskets.”
Brown led all scorers with 25 points, while Romey finished with a team-high 19 points and shot a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The Tigers’ bench put up 24 points as two of its starters played for 17 minutes combined.
The following night, the Red hoped to end Penn’s perfect Ivy record. Cornell held a four-point lead with three minutes left in the first half, after putting together a 12-2 run. Penn answered back, closing out the half on an 8-2 run. Despite only shooting 25 percent from the floor, Cornell found itself down by two points at the break.
“I thought we played great defense. To be honest, we worked our butts off on the defensive end. We got to the foul line, we were aggressive in the offensive end. We really outrebounded them in the first half, and got a lot of second chances,” Smith said.
Penn came out firing at the start of the second half, using a 13-2 run to increase its lead to 13 points, while holding Cornell to two points in the first seven minutes of the half. Faced with a big second half deficit again, the Red mounted a big comeback, cutting the Quakers’ lead to three with five minutes left in the game. Five straight points by senior Tanya Karcic brought the Red within two, but that was as close as Cornell would get. In the end, Penn’s clutch free-throw shooting in the final minutes sealed the victory for the Quakers.
“In the second half, we were battling right with them,” Smith said. “We were down 18 at one point, and then we went on a great run to cut it to two with two minutes to go, and if we played that throughout the course of the game offensively, it would have been a different story.”
The Red held Jewell Clark, the league’s second-leading scorer to 10 points, but could not contain Jennifer Fleischer and Karen Habrukowich, who netted 18 and 23 points, respectively. For the Red, Karcic led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while senior tri-captain Karen Force chipped in 17. Her seven assists in the game brought her career total to 427, passing Patty Mills ’86 to become the program’s all-time assist leader.
“It’s a great accomplishment for her and her teammates. Anytime you have a record for assists, it’s more of a team effort. Karen really had a gutsy performance on Saturday,” Smith said.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach