There seems to be the feeling that something has changed for the women’s basketball team, especially after the Red’s 90-47 drubbing of McGill (6-4) in an exhibition game in Newman Arena Saturday night.
“It was by far the most exciting first game I’ve ever played in,” said senior guard Claire Perry.
Players can’t seem to exactly pin down what has changed, however.
“I think we’re just different,” said sophomore Jeomi Maduka.
“We know we’re good,” Perry said. “That confidence we have is important.”
Whatever it is, it was on display against the Martlets as the Red came out firing, rattling off 11 straight points in the early going to go ahead, 15-3.
“For us to not play at their level and play at our level, the level we know Cornell basketball is capable of is important,” Maduka said.
The team continued to surge ahead as junior transfer Moina Snyder heated up on the offensive end.
“The bench was freaking out because she was just doing awesome,” Perry exclaimed.
More generally, the Red unveiled its new offensive style to great success. With increased talent in the post, the team is looking to lead a more balanced attack this year, sending the ball down on the block more to try and step up point production in the paint, as well as open up the outside shooting more.
“The post did great,” Perry said. “We were getting it in to them, and it was getting us open. We were focusing on picking the correct shots too, and not forcing them.”
The result of the efficient ball movement and careful shot selection was a blazing 17 of 34 from the floor in the first half, good for 50 percent, including 44 percent from behind the arc.
“Our forwards had a lot of lay-ups,” Perry said. “We just passed the ball well. We were always looking for the next open person, who will always be more open than the last person. It was just a big team effort. No one played more than 20 minutes, and there was absolutely no drop off when the subs came in. That’s a big difference from before.”
The Red trotted into the locker room at half time leading, 54-30, but with one thing weighing heavily on its minds.
“In the past, whenever we would do well in the first half, we would always, always have a drop off in the second half, “ Maduka said. “During half time, we set a goal to keep them under 50 points for the game.”
With that goal in mind, the Red came out in the second half and clamped down on the defensive end, allowing only 17 second-half points. During the final 20 minutes, the Martlets only put the ball through the hoop six times on 28 attempts for a paltry 21 percent field goal shooting percentage.
“There are a lot of things on defense that need to be fine tuned,” Maduka said. “Our trapping in the post for example, we didn’t always do that.”
Nonetheless, the Red pulled down 53 rebounds in the game, compared to McGill’s 37, another defensive point of which the team was proud.
“Rebounding is all about heart,” said Perry, “and that’s what this team’s
Offensively, Cornell continued to run the Martlets off the floor.
“We’re trying to be a running team, and we did it some, but we can do it more,” Maduka said.
“We now know that we can run the floor,” Perry said. “We know we’re quick, and that when we’re tired we have subs who can come in and keep the pace up.”
When all the running had stopped, every player but two on the Red roster had scored, with sophomore Kayleen Fitzimmons leading the way with 15 points, while Maduka and Snyder both chipped in 14 apiece, and Snyder adding nine boards. Sophomore Shannon Scarselletta dominated the glass for the Red pulling down 10 rebounds.