February 11, 2008

W. Cagers Defeat Quakers, Tigers

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After losing to Columbia in its first Ivy League road game, the women’s basketball team headed south to Princeton and Penn for two chances at winning a conference game on the road. The Red capitalized on both opportunities, beating the Tigers (4-17, 1-4 Ivy) and Quakers (3-17, 0-5 Ivy) to improve to 13-6 and 5-1 in the Ivy League.
Cornell opened the weekend with a close 77-73 victory over Princeton. It was a back-and-forth game all night, as Princeton held the lead for the majority of the first half, but was not able to contain the 3-point shooting of the Red.
Princeton held an early 9-5 advantage and later a 24-16 lead in the first half, but was unable to stop the offensive strength of the Red. 3-pointers by sophomore guard Allie Fedorowicz and senior co-captain Gretchen Gregg gave Cornell a 34-33 lead at the half. [img_assist|nid=27615|title=Jammin’ Jeomi|desc=Junior forward Jeomi Maduka registered a double-double in the Red’s Friday night 77-73 win over Princeton.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“All weekend, the guards did a good job of hitting shots,” said Gregg. “Forwards were setting great screens and helping us get open shots, and the guards were hitting them.”
Cornell and Princeton traded baskets until midway through the second half when the Red went on a 9-0 run to take a 59-49 lead. Princeton fought back, however, and with 1:16 left to play, the score sat at 70-67 in favor of Cornell.
“I thought Friday was more of an offensive battle,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We traded baskets back and forth, and after we got a 10-point lead, Princeton chipped away and eventually got two long-range [3-point shots]. But we were able to break their press down the stretch and handled the pressure.”
Cornell was able to pull out the victory, hitting seven-of-eight free throws throughout the last minute, capped off by two free throws from Fedorowicz with under six seconds left.
“We got some stops when we needed them, and then Allie [Fedorowitz] hit those two free throws to seal the deal,” Gregg said.
The Red followed up the slim victory over Princeton with a dominating 80-56 win over Penn. The Quakers came into the game riding a 13-game losing streak, including a loss to Columbia the previous night. The Red played sound fundamental basketball, turning the ball over a season-low six times.
“It was just a great offensive performance on Saturday,” Smith said. “In terms of turnovers, we just played extremely smart basketball. We had very giveaways, and some of them were on a charge or travel. Our passing was great and we made smart decisions with the ball.”
In addition to the season-low number of turnovers, the Red’s victory over Penn was highlighted by a 21-21 team performance from the charity stripe. Eight of the 11 women on the roster made a free throw in the game.
“In terms of the free throws, part of our game plan going into the whole weekend was trying to get to the free throw line,” Smith said. “We hadn’t really been doing that, especially the guards. Jeomi [Maduka] seems to be the one taking all of our free throws, but we need to have that part of our game come alive.”
“All year long we’ve valued every possession,” Gregg added. “We’ve really worked on taking care of the ball and getting off a good shot, and then going 21-21 from the free throw line was just a great accomplish for the whole team.”
Although the forward tandem of Maduka and Snyder each reached double-digit scoring in both games over the weekend, it was the play from the guards that pulled out the close win over the Tigers. While Snyder led the Red with a season-high 20 points against Penn, Gregg paced Cornell with 21 points against the Tigers, including a 6-8 performance from 3-point range. On the weekend, Gregg went nine-of-12 from behind the arc while the Red as a team shot 56 percent from long range.
“Both teams tried to neutralize our post game, so we did a good job of penetrating and getting the ball inside,” Smith said. “When they doubled on our forwards, we did a nice job of kicking the ball outside to our shooters. We knew that Penn and Princeton would try to shut down our inside game and leave our outside shooters open, and we were able to exploit that.”