February 23, 2009

W. B-Ball Sweeps Weekend

Print More

This season, the Red is shooting 39.6 percent — good enough for third place in the Ivy League. Not bad, but it doesn’t compare to the Red’s 54 percent shooting performance over the weekend. Cornell opened the weekend shooting 20-of-26 in the first half against Yale (10-14, 3-7), and never looked back, beating the Bulldogs, 80-62, and then downing Brown (3-21, 1-9), 68-58.
[img_assist|nid=35452|title=Break a leg|desc=Women’s basketball cruised by both Brown and Yale this weekend. The team currently stands at 4th in the Ivy League.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The story of the weekend for Cornell (9-13, 5-5 Ivy) was the offense. Prior to this weekend, senior captain and Sun columnist Shannan Scarselletta and junior captain Lauren Benson were the only members of the women’s basketball team to have reached 20 points in a game.
In the win against Yale, the 20-point club doubled in size as junior Virginia McMunigal and freshman Allison Abt combined to score half of Cornell’s 80 points — becoming the first 20-point pair at Cornell in over three years. McMunigal’s 20 points against Yale was not her career-high for long, however, as she scored 24 the next night against Brown.
“I think there were a lot of good passes off of the penetration and then a kick-out,” McMunigal said. “On Saturday against Brown, we were moving the ball around well and finding the open person. Another key for us was transition against Yale. We got a lot of open shots in transition against Yale, which helped us get the flow of our shot going.”
The junior guard out of Philadelphia had the flow of her shot going the entire weekend, first shooting 7-of-12 against Yale, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Against Brown, McMunigal hit 9-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-12 from behind the arc.
“This past week in practice we focused a lot on shooting and getting our shots off quicker,” McMunigal said. “We also worked on having better form, and I think that with that focus in practice we all were ready to shot in the game. Another thing we did well was that we drove — we penetrated and kicked the ball out well. That gave our 3-point shooters an open shot.”
As a team, the Red improved on its Ivy League-leading 3-point shooting percentage, connecting on 42 percent against Brown after shooting a stunning 61 percent from long-range against Yale — the Bulldogs are the league’s best team at defending the 3-point shot, allowing only 28.6 percent on average.
“The 3 is a really important part of our game,” McMunigal said. “A lot of our guards are really good 3-point shooters. Even Allison Abt at forward is a strong 3-point shooter. It’s just another way to get the offense going, and it was really helpful this weekend to have that working for us.”
With the perimeter offense working, less pressure was on the frontcourt, made up of Scarselletta and the rookie Abt — a 6-0 guard/forward playing alongside 6-1 Scarselletta down low. The frontcourt combination was at a minor size disadvantage relative to Yale and Brown, but this weekend, Harvard will provide four players taller than the Red’s starting forwards.
It helps that at the forward position, Abt shot 5-of-10 from long range during the weekend, sinking seven of her 10 shot attempts against the Bulldogs to lead the Red with 20 points.
“It was a combination of both [the inside and outside game],” McMunigal said. “Lauren [Benson] did a good job of getting the ball inside, and our guards were also doing a good job of penetrating. And at the same time we were doing a good job of hitting our 3’s — it was a combination of both.
The freshmen led the way against Yale, as Allie Munson grabbed a team-high six rebounds to complement her classmate’s 20 points. Abt followed up her career-high in scoring with a game-high eight rebounds against Brown.
Benson ended the weekend with 20 points and 15 assists total, and backup point guard sophomore Sasha Truong set career highs with eight points and four rebounds against the Bulldogs. With the two wins, the Red moved from a tie for sixth place to sole possession of fourth in the Ivy League, just one game back of Columbia for third place.