February 21, 2011

Women’s Basketball Drops Two Hard-Fought Games on Road

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The Cornell women’s basketball team suffered another two-loss weekend on the road last Friday and Saturday, falling to Harvard and Dartmouth. The team is now in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, struggling to find consistency and some wins before the season ends.

Reminiscent of the squad’s tough effort against Princeton the previous week, Cornell (5-19, 2-8 Ivy League) put forth a strong performance on Friday in Cambridge, Mass. falling narrowly to Ivy League powerhouse Harvard (14-9, 6-2), 73-68. Despite the loss, the game was far and away the team’s most impressive offensive performance of the season.

The night was something of a coming-out party for freshman guard Shelby Lyman, who tied the game-high with 19 points, going 6-for-10 from the floor. Sophomore forward Clare Fitzpatrick — a bright spot on the team as of late — had another solid game, adding 19 points of her own, while playing 40 minutes of hard-fought basketball. Freshman guard Allyson DiMagno chipped in 15 points, while pulling in eight rebounds.

“Shelby had an amazing day shooting-wise, and in her overall game,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s the Shelby we all know in practice.”

“[Lyman] was finishing the plays, she was hitting her open shots, she was coming hard off of screens. … she was on fire and we kept going to her,” added sophomore guard Taylor Flynn.

Cornell came out of the gate playing well, trading shots with the Crimson for long stretches of the game. Harvard forward Emma Markley established her dominance early and often, finishing with a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double. In addition, the Crimson’s tenacious defense produced 11 Red turnovers, and blocked three of the visitor’s shots in the first half.

Reversing what had developed into a disconcerting trend for the Red, Cornell came out strong in the second half, shooting the ball well and finding a balanced, consistent offensive rhythm. The Red shot an impressive 46 percent from the field, including sinking 5-of-9 3-point attempts. In the end, however, it would prove not quite enough to overcome Harvard’s lead.

On Saturday, the Red went to Hanover, N.H. hoping to pick up its second win of the season against Dartmouth (7-16, 3-6). On Jan. 28, Cornell was victorious against the Green — one of only two conference wins for the Red all year.

After a strong second half in the weekend’s first game, the opposite was true on Saturday night. Cornell dominated the early-goings of the game, with junior forward Maka Anyanwu making her presence known off the bench. Anyanwu tied a game-high with 21 points, in addition to her seven rebounds. Freshman guard Stephanie Long played all 40 minutes of the contest, adding 10 points, six rebounds and two assists.

“[Maka] is definitely going to become a steady contributor,” Fitzpatrick said. “She has the ability to be dominant in this game.”

“She is extremely controlled in her moves. … She really finishes hard,” Flynn said.

As halftime approached, and then once the second period began, the struggling Red seemed to revert back to its old form. Surrendering 41 points to Dartmouth in the half, Cornell couldn’t match the home team intensity and offensive execution, giving up its lead.

Faziah Steen’s sharpshooting led the way for Dartmouth. The guard finished with 21 points on seven-for-13 shooting (three-for-six from behind the 3-point arc), as well as seven rebounds in 27 minutes of game time.

The 59-51 win for the Green brought the squad’s record to 7-16 overall and 3-6 in the Ivy League.

This upcoming weekend, the Red will get the chance to avenge two of its in-conference losses as Cornell welcomes Princeton and Penn to Newman Arena.

“I think we can really come away with two wins if we play like we played against Harvard,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It’s just going to be a matter of each one of us getting our jobs done,” Flynn added.

The Red will tip-off against the Tigers at 7 p.m. on Friday, and against the Quakers at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Original Author: Holden Steinhauer