January 22, 2007

W. Basketball Stays Atop the Ivies

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With an impressive defensive performance and five players scoring at least nine points, the women’s basketball team (7-9, 3-0 Ivy) cruised to a 67-51 victory at Columbia (3-13, 0-3 Ivy) on Saturday afternoon. Having won all three of its first conference games on the road for the first time in 10 years, the Red now claim a full game lead atop the Ivy standings.
“Its definitely a great thing to have such a good start to the conference season,” sophomore Jeomi Maduka said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, but it was enough to get the job done.”
Even if Maduka did not play her best against the Lions, it’s hard to argue that the forward did not have an impressive performance. Registering a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Maduka recorded her 500th point at Cornell in just the 35th game of her career.
Junior Moina Snyder also scored 14 points for Cornell, while sophomore Kayleen Fitzsimmons added 10 points to go along with three assists. Senior Claire Perry and freshman Lauren Benson chipped in with nine points apiece.
“We definitely showed that we have more than one player who can score,” Maduka said. “Everyone on our team is capable of contributing.”
Meanwhile, the Cornell defense put tremendous pressure on the Lions, collecting nine steals and pressuring the Columbia offense into 26 total turnovers.
“Whenever they penetrated, we shifted and used the defensive principles we’ve been taught effectively,” Maduka said. “We really clogged the lane against them and kept them from penetrating to the basket.”
Down early, the Red used a 15-2 run to build a 10-point lead just over six minutes into the game.
After trading baskets for a few minutes, Cornell continued to slowly build its advantage throughout the rest of the first half to establish a 37-19 lead at the intermission.
Even with the sizeable lead, the Red focused on keeping the pressure on the Lions going into the second half.
“We think of ourselves as a second-half team,” Maduka said. “We just told ourselves that the score was 0-0 going into that second half, and that we had to keep battling.”
Although Columbia opened the second half with a 5-0 run, the Red responded with an 11-4 run of its own and would build as much as a 21-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
Refusing to quit, the Lions put together a 12-2 run to pull within 10 points with 2:20 to play. Once again, however, Cornell shut down the Lions’ comeback effort by closing out the game with an 8-2 scoring run.
The Red will try to move its perfect Ivy League record to 4-0 next Saturday, when it hosts Columbia at Newman Arena at 1 p.m.