November 26, 2007

Gregg, Maduka Lead Lady Cagers in Weekend Win

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Cornell rode senior co-captain Gretchen Gregg’s hot shooting to an early lead and the Red never looked back in its 74-63 win over visiting Bucknell. The Bisons held their only lead, 22-20, with 7:30 to go in the first half, but the Red responded with a 19-7 run over the rest of the half. Bucknell, the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League, fell to 1-4 while the Red climbed back up to .500 at 2-2.
Junior forward Jeomi Maduka had a big game, leading the team with 24 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and four steals, all team highs. Gregg finished the game with 14 points, and sophomore Lauren Benson played the entire 40 minutes, racking up six assists and 11 points.
“I finally just found it,” Gregg said. “I’ve been working on my shot and being mechanically sound and it finally came together. My teammates did a good job of finding me; Lauren found me a couple of times. We just read the defense well and they found me when I was open.”
“I think I’ve had it in me all along,” Maduka said. “I don’t even think I played my best.”
After the game, Maduka said that she wanted to work on free throws (she went 8-of-13 from the line) and “layups that are wide open.” Maduka was forced to rush down the court on some breakaways as the rest of the team was relying on her speed to get past a physical Bison defense that often resorted to a full-court press.
“It wasn’t pretty but we found a way to break it,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We had to utilize Jeomi; it’s nice to have her speed and it’s nice to have a forward that can bring the ball up.”
The Bisons’ full-court press was a tactic that the Red hadn’t seen much of and led to several of Cornell’s 21 turnovers. The Bisons scored 21 points off of Red turnovers. Bucknell’s Kristina Collymore was an especially tenacious defender who threw off the Red’s offense more than once.
“We did some dribble entries just to relieve some pressure so we didn’t have to throw passes past her active hands,” Smith said. “Lauren (Benson) has some speed, we told her that if (Collymore) was a little too aggressive to try to get around her or try to push the ball up the court a little bit and she was able to do that.”
The Bisons never stopped struggling. Cornell held a 20-point lead with 11:23 to go in the second half but Bucknell responded with a 9-1 run over the last 2:17.
“They’re a good team, they did some nice things down the stretch,” Smith said. “But we were able to hold them off so I’m happy with it. That’s two games at home that we’ve been able to hold off a late surge and get out of here with two wins and we’re happy about that. If we can do that all season we’ll