The women’s basketball team played some tight defense and continued its streak of hot shooting in a home court defeat of St. Francis last night, 59-48. With the victory, the Red evened out its season record at 2-2.
Senior captain Shannan Scarselletta, also a Sun columnist, had a stellar night in Newman Arena, with a superb statistical performance that encapsulated her “do-it-all” playing style. The 6-1 forward finished with a team-high 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.[img_assist|nid=33876|title=Made you look|desc=Junior Lauren Benson (23) goes up for a layup against St. Francis last night. The Red excelled at the 3, however.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Shannan is definitely one of our stronger post players, and tonight was sort of a breakout game for her,” said junior guard Virginia McMunigal after the game. “She did an excellent job rebounding on both ends of the floor.”
“I was very happy with Shannan’s game,” added head coach Dayna Smith. “We knew it was Shannan’s year to step into [a bigger] role. This is her year to be a go-to player, and we need that to bring some balance to our offense. I’m very, very happy with what she did tonight.”
The play of McMunigal was key in the early goings, as she established her shot and capitalized on some great scoring opportunities after junior guard Allie Fedorowicz, who led the Cornell in scoring in the team’s recent win over Albany, fell into some foul trouble.
McMunigal notched 10 first-half points before finishing the night with 13 and six assists.
The two-guard credits much of her success to a more up-tempo, aggressive playing style — “We pushed the ball a lot more,” she said, “and I got some great shots in transition.”
“Our transition game was back to where it needed to be,” Smith added.
McMunigal was also quick to acknowledge the excellent ball-handling and court vision of Scarselletta, saying, “I was getting a lot of really good passes from Shannan when she was getting double-teamed in the post.”
Heeding the demands of their coach in practice, the Red players showed more physicality and on-court energy than they had in their first three games, holding their opponent to a season-low scoring total.
“I thought today we were very active on the defensive end,” McMunigal said. “[And] I think in general we did a better job rebounding.”
In the end, the extra energy paid-off — the Terriers (0-4) were held to 26 percent field goal shooting and 21 percent from beyond the arc.
The Red (2-2), meanwhile, had one of its best shooting games of the year, finishing with a mark of 42 percent from the field and a fantastic 44 percent from “downtown.
“I was happy with how we shot tonight and I thought we made good decisions,” Smith said. “It was good to see Virginia [who finished 3-for-7 from long range] knock some down.”
Regardless of the consistent ability to shoot the trey, the team emphasized balance in its offense as the season moves forward.
“[Three-point shooting] is a place that’s focused on our team, but we do talk about the importance of penetrating and getting into the lane,” McMunigal said.
“We’re still going to focus on our offense,” Smith emphasized. “Offensively, our point production has been increasing, but we need to get some more points.
“We really want to get four or five players really in the feel of the game, and that’s what we’re going to stress.”