January 26, 2009

Freshman’s Career Highs Help Red Defeat Lions

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After spending much of the early part of the season looking for consistent performance in the paint and on the glass, the Red got just the inside presence it needed from a young forward who has spent much of the season on the outside looking in. Freshman Allie Munson helped lead the Red past Columbia, 53-58, in a close home contest Saturday at Newman Arena.
Averaging only about 10 minutes a game coming into the contest against Columbia, Munson, came off the benchfor career-highs in points and rebounds (17 and seven, respectively), helping to power Cornell (5-9, 1-1) past the Lions (8-8, 1-1).
“We knew Allie had a ton of potential,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “There’s a lot of learning to be done, especially in the forward position; it’s a lot more physical and grueling than in high school. For her to come in and do what she did –– it was critical for us.”
“She was great, she had so much confidence,” said junior guard Allie Fodorowicz. “She wanted the ball, she wanted to score, she wanted to help out the team. She was so positive and wanted to contribute.”
The win was the Red’s first in more than three weeks, ending a streak that included a heartbreaking 44-47 loss against the Lions on Jan. 17.
“I think we were just so excited for another chance to play Columbia,” Fodorowicz said. “We knew we could beat them.”
“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks,” Smith admitted. “We knew we had a pretty difficult schedule, but we have been struggling offensively quite a bit. We haven’t been making shots that we need to knock down.” [img_assist|nid=34397|title=Playing like she means it|desc=Freshman forward Alex Munson (35) drives during the Red’s 58-53 win Saturday over the Lions. Munson scored a career-high 17 points.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Munson was offensively efficient, going 8-for-9 from the field while committing only three turnovers in 25 minutes of play. Senior Shannan Scarselletta, who started at forward, added 12 points.
Playing all 40 minutes, junior guard Lauren Benson continued to perform well and ran the offense effectively –– dishing-out seven assists and grabbing five rebounds.
Although she was blanked from the field, Benson made the most of her visits to the charity stripe, hitting five out of seven free throws. The point guard is averaging five boards a game, as well as five assists and a free-throw average of 76 percentage –– both team highs.
“Lauren is like the heart of the team. How she goes, we’re going to go,” Smith said. “For Lauren to come in and limit her turnovers and get the ball into our forwards … that’s huge.”
Cornell had started slow, managing only one field goal in 13 attempts to start the contest. The Lions continued to rely on tenacious defense and a dominant presence on the glass — an area the Red has been looking to improve upon all season — to open up a 14-2 lead.
Despite poor shooting, Cornell managed to cut the lead to six twice, and went into the halftime break down 21-29. Although the team has been able to score with consistency from the 3-point line all season, the Red shooters were a dismal 1-for-11 from downtown in the first half.
After three straight scores from Munson at the beginning of the cut to four points. Fodorowicz then sank two shots, giving Cornell the lead for the first time in the game.
The junior would finish the game with a solid all-around performance, contributing 11 points, four assists and three rebounds.
After Scarselletta fouled out towards the end of regulation, Munson continued to step-up her game. She scored 11 of herpoints in the second half.
Despite having struggled for the past few weeks, the team remains optimistic and claims its goals for this season have not wavered.
“It’s still our goal to win the Ivy [championship],” Fodorowicz said. “I think the way we played [this] weekend showed that we’re on track.”