Even with a strong return from junior Clair Perry – who has missed the past four games due to injury – the women’s basketball team (8-17, 5-7 Ivy) could not find its winning ways on the road this past weekend, dropping games at Yale, 64-57, and Brown, 65-52.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” said sophomore Lindsay Krasna. “It was a rough weekend.”
Without its leading scorer and rebounder for the weekend – freshman Jeomi Maduka, who was competing for track at the indoor Heps championships – Perry came up huge for the Red in her return. Leading Cornell scorers in both games, the 5-11 guard combined for 34 points and eight rebounds over the two games.
“We were really glad to have her back,” Krasna said. “It’s nice to have that outside threat.”
Meanwhile, freshmen Shannan Scarselletta and Kayleen Fitzsimmons also had strong performances. Scarselleta totaled 18 boards between the two games, including a career-high 11 against Brown (17-18, 11-1), while Fitzsimmons notched 15 points and seven assists on the weekend.
In Friday evening’s game against the Bulldogs (3-22, 2-10), the Red fell behind early as Yale crafted a 15-2 run to jump ahead 19-6 less than eight minutes into the game.
Cornell came storming back, however, using scoring runs of 12-2 and 12-3 to get back in the game.
And when Krasna scored five straight points for the Red late in the half, the team took its first lead of the game, 27-26. The Red then extended that lead one point further to maintain a 32-30 advantage at the half.
“We came out slow. We weren’t clicking – we were playing really passively,” Krasna said. “The comeback really began when we started attacking.”
The game went back and forth through much of the second half until the Red grabbed its largest lead of the night at 52-45 with 7:33 left to play.
From there onwards, however, Yale dominated play. Putting together scoring runs of 6-0 and 13-3, the Bulldogs closed the game strongly to collect the win.
“We couldn’t get stops at the end,” Krasna said. “We also didn’t execute on offense. We were in it until the end, though. It could have gone either way.”
Yale’s starting forwards, Chinenye Okafor and Sara McCollum, put up almost identical numbers in leading their squad to victory, combining for 25 points and 13 rebounds. Besides Perry, Krasna and sophomore Megan Hughes also had big scoring games for the Red, collecting 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Against Brown, the Red again found itself down early. However, this time it was never able to overcome that initial disadvantage.
With Cornell ahead 9-6 a few minutes into the first half, the Bears pieced together a dominant 23-2 run to take a comfortable 29-11 lead with four minutes remaining in the half. Brown maintained that advantage for the rest of the half, taking a 38-21 advantage into the break.
The Red could never close the gap to single digits as Brown cruised to the victory.
Forward Sarah Hayes led all scorers for the Bears with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Teammate Lena McAfee also turned in a strong performance with eight points and 10 boards.
As has been at various points throughout the season, protecting the ball was Cornell’s Achilles’ Heel throughout its two games. The Red gave up 44 turnovers on the weekend, leading to 33 points for its opponents.
“Our offense just wasn’t executing, and the turnovers was definitely part of that,” Krasna said.
At the same, Cornell – out-rebounded in both games as a team – missed the inside presence of Maduka.
Yale and Brown collected 13 offensive rebounds, leading to 29 second-chance points against the Red for the weekend.