February 23, 2004

W. Basketball Falls To Conference Foes

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The women’s basketball team (8-15, 3-7 Ivy) fell, 70-51, to Dartmouth (13-8, 6-2) and, 68-55, to Harvard (12-10, 5-4) this weekend, after earning a split when the two teams visited Ithaca last month. In the Dartmouth game, Cornell was up by three at the half, but the Green put up a 47-point second half to roll to a 19-point victory. Saturday’s game was a two-woman show, as Harvard senior Hana Peljto and junior Reka Cserny posted 54 of Harvard’s 68 points.

“They’re both talented teams,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “Anytime you have to travel up to Harvard and Dartmouth, it’s a tough road trip. Penn swept them this year, and that’s a huge thing in the Ivy League.”

On Friday against Dartmouth, Cornell seemed to struggle in the first half as the team has throughout much of this season. The Red was down, 23-14, with just about five minutes remaining before halftime. However, Cornell then went on a 12-point run to head into the locker room up, 26-23.

Unfortunately for the Red, the lead did not last. The Green countered Cornell’s 12-point run with a 12-point run of its own at the start of the second half. By the time the night was over, Dartmouth sophomore Jeannie Cullen would collect six three-pointers and 29 points, while Cornell-killer Elise Morrison added 20 to give the Green a 70-51 victory.

“In the Dartmouth game, we had some injuries that really caught up with us,” Smith explained. “Dartmouth got really hot shooting, and they turned it up a notch and we weren’t able to match up to their intensity level.”

The next night against Harvard saw similar results. Again, with around five minutes left in the first half, the Red was down, this time 22-12. However, Cornell put together another big run, scoring 11 of the game’s next 13 points to bring the Red within a single point at 24-23.

This is as close as the Red got, however. Despite going 0-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, the Crimson shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range after the break. Peljto knocked two of Harvard’s 3’s down and went 12-for-28 from the field to give the senior a 31-point showing. Cserny, who played all 40 minutes, went 10-for-19 with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“Hana Peljto is an unbelievable player and Reka is first-team all-conference the last two years,” Smith said. “They’re both phenomenal players. The thing that makes them so dangerous is that they’re not just 6-3 and 6-4, but they can also shoot the outside shot.”

Despite now being statistically eliminated from Ivy League title contention, neither the Cornell players nor Smith has any thought of giving up on the rest of the season.

“The one thing with this team is that they’re great at [knowing] what we need to take from these games,” Smith said. “They’re really great at moving on and that’s just something we’re going to have to do again this week. The seniors would love to finish out with a couple of home victories. We can do a lot in the next four games. I’ve never seen them quit or give up. We’re going to be happy to be home this weekend.”

Archived article by Michael Pandolfini