Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm once said that “there is a gentleness in [the state] that you just can’t replicate.” However, following a tough road trip in Michigan over Thanksgiving Break, the women’s basketball team would probably be wondering if people in the state really know what gentleness is.
After defeating Winston-Salem State University at Newman Arena to obtain its first win of the season, the Red (1-5) dropped consecutive games in the Great Lake State to begin its three-game road trip with a two-game losing streak.
Cornell first travelled to Ypsilanti, Mich., where it lost, 66-41, to Eastern Michigan University (4-2) last Friday at the Convocation Center. The Red’s next stop was Rochester, Mich., for a matchup against Oakland University (3-3) yesterday. Cornell fell short of victory in a 56-45 contest.
At the Convocation Center, Eastern Michigan’s defense came out strong early in the game to force a turnover in each of the Red’s initial possessions. This defensive performance, combined with an offensive efficiency, pushed the Eagles to a 11-0 lead in the first minutes of the period.
After taking the advantage early in the game, Eastern Michigan never lost its upper hand for the remainder of the contest. Although Cornell was able to close the gap to single digits with 3:12 left on the clock, its opposition went on a 6-1 scoring run in the final moments to enter halftime with a 34-18 lead.
The Eagles extended their advantage during the second half, leading by 20 points with less than six minutes remaining in regulation. Cornell then reduced Eastern Michigan’s advantage to 15 points in the span of two minutes, but was unable to control the Eagles’ last push –– a 12-2 scoring run to end the game.
Cornell lost the offensive match, shooting 28.3 percent from the field and 11.8 percent from downtown –– compared to Eastern Michigan’s 41.1 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Turnovers came to haunt the Red once more, as the team was forced to lose possession of the ball on 26 occasions –– 15 of them via steals.
However, against Oakland University –– and for the first time this season –– Cornell forced more turnovers than it allowed –– 23 for the Grizzlies and 22 for the Red. However, this was not a substantial difference that could guarantee an advantage for the visiting team.
The difference maker was Cornell’s struggling offensive performance during the first period –– a 23 percent field-goal percentage accounted for seven field goals in 30 attempts. Even though the Red’s offense was able to bounce back in the second period with 40 percent efficiency from the field, the harm was already done.
Cornell outscored Oakland, 28-25, in the second period and even managed at one time to close the 31-17 gap created in the first period to a four-point game with 13:42 left on the clock. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies managed to hold the lead with various scoring runs and effective free-throw shooting, which proved a huge factor in the game’s outcome.
“We will give Cornell credit. They came out and made a run on us,” said Oakland sophomore forward Bethany Watterworth. “They are a good team, but we kept our composure and finished the game strong.”
Oakland gained 15 points –– out of 20 attempts –– from the foul line. Cornell, on the other hand, did not have a single free-throw attempt in the entire game, something that has not happened since January 22, 2009, when Cornell fell to the University of Miami, 61-47.
“I think that was just one of the goals –– to go out there and stay down. Not to go for any steal or reaching,” said Oakland junior center Brittany Carnago. “I think we were really disciplined at ourselves.”
Original Author: AJ Ortiz