March 9, 2009

W. B-Ball Falls to Tigers in Jersey

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Women’s basketball ended its season with a loss against Princeton (13-4, 8-5 Ivy), 76-55, finishing a disappointing sixth in the Ancient Eight and failing to make a return to the NCAA Championship. Cornell (10-6, 6-8 Ivy) finished first in the Ivy League last year.
In her final game representing Cornell, senior f[img_assist|nid=35921|title=Hover|desc=Princeton was senior Shannan Scarselletta’s last game.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]orward Shannan Scarselletta scored 18 points, going 4-for-4 from the line. Junior guard Allie Fedorowicz also tallied 18, while junior guard Virginia McMunigal led the team with nine rebounds.
The game was also the final contest for senior guard Lacey Workman, who played 21 minutes and tacked on four boards.
Although the Red started out strong, Princeton constantly changed the momentum. In the second half, the Red shot only 21 percent, finishing the night hitting less than 29 percent from the field.
“I thought Princeton picked up the tempo a little bit on us,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We were being methodical instead of aggressive, like we had been in the first half.”
Scarselletta echoed such sentiment, saying that, in the second half, “[Princeton] became more aggressive, while we became more passive.”
After a competitive start, a 3-point play by Fedorowicz gave the Red a 29-24 advantage with less than five minutes to go in the half. But as time wound down, Princeton made a 5-2 run to take a 36-32 advantage into halftime.
After the break, the Red ran into a four-minute scoreless stretch. Scarselletta would break the skid with a pair of free throws, but back-to-back 3-pointers put the Tigers up, 50-38, with 13 minutes remaining. Although the Red tried to keep it competitive, Princeton was in cruise control on the way to another home victory.
When asked what adjustments her team attempted to help get back on track, Smith simply replied, “everything.”
“We just couldn’t get anything to fall,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, we’ve gone through a couple of games like that this season where we can’t finish and miss open shots.”
“We just couldn’t capitalize,” Scarselletta added. “We just kind of hit a wall.”
“What everyone does in a situation like that is try and change how you’re trying to score,” Scarselletta said. “What we really needed to do was have a mental change of pace. We had to refocus, and we never took that moment to refocus.”
Despite the loss and the disappointing end to the season, the team is excited about next year’s squad, which will feature a lot of experienced talent and a strong recruiting class.
“I’m excited about the future,” Smith said. “Our three juniors –– they made the transitions from role-players to go-to players. I don’t think the transition is complete, but I think they understand their roles on the team.”
“Obviously it was not the year we expected,” Scarselletta said. “But coach always says you can a lot from your losses, more so than your wins.”
With several key returning players, and a much-heralded freshman class, the Red will surely look to make the most of the lessons of 2008-09 for a successful 2009-10 campaign.