November 18, 2008

Women’s Basketball Routed By Dukes in Season Opener

Print More

Despite a competitive opening to the game, the women’s basketball team lost its season opener and got the year off to a rough start, falling 93-49 against Duquesne in Pittsburgh.
Although the final score might not suggest it, the game began with a fiercely contested back-and-forth battle between the two teams, as Cornell (0-1) showed energy and athleticism on the Dukes’ home court. After opening the first half with a 4-0 lead, Duquesne (2-0) saw it slip away as junior Virginia McMunigal hit a 3-pointer and junior Lauren Benson took a steal the length of the court to put the Red up, 5-4.
Benson led Cornell in scoring with 11 points, going 4-of-9 from the field. Playing 30 minutes, the Red guard also had five rebounds.[img_assist|nid=33685|title=Reach for the sky|desc=Junior guard Allie Fedorowicz (13) notched 10 points, a block and a steal in the Red’s loss.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We actually were competing pretty well. I was very happy we were getting off on a good foot early,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We were running well and executing, and containing their transition.”
Senior Shannan Scarseletta kept Cornell in the game in the early going, with a strong offensive performance that included an “and-1” three-point play. The 6-1 forward had a strong game overall, grabbing six boards (three offensive) and going 6-of-9 from the charity stripe. However, it wasn’t enough to keep the margin close — with 4:25 left in the first half, Duquesne had stretched its advantage to 31-20 behind the play of junior guard Rachel Frederick and sophomore forward Samantha Pollino, who responded to Benson’s runner in the lane with a strong layup, bringing the score differential to 11.
The Dukes relied on strong defensive pressure to close out the half, fueling a 16-7 run and going into the locker room at halftime with a secure 47-27 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Red, the intermission would not provide any help in stemming Duquesne’s rhythm. The Dukes opened the second half with a 16-3 scoring run and built an advantage that Cornell would not be able to overcome.
“We weren’t executing and taking care of the ball,” Smith said. “At halftime we were disappointed that they had blown up such a huge lead. They had gotten way too many offensive boards, and offensively, we weren’t executing what our game plan was.”
The Red struggled shooting from the field throughout the game, sinking only 31.3 percent of field goal attempts, while Duquesne connected on 50 percent of theirs. Turnovers were also a problem, as Cornell gave up 34, while forcing only 17.
Benson had a good game distributing the ball, leading Cornell with three assists; however the team as a whole only totaled 10 helpers. The Dukes, on the other hand, had 27 for a near 2:1 assist-turnover ratio, and were led by senior guard Kristi Little, who had six.
In practice this week, the team will look to tighten up its game and prepare for the rest of their season.
“We worked on rebounding and toughness with the ball,” Smith said after Monday’s practice. “We played a pretty poor game. We’ve got to be tougher, and we’ve got to be more disciplined on the offensive end.”
Tomorrow Cornell begins its home schedule as the Red welcomes Albany (0-2), which is coming off a loss to Marist, to Newman Arena.