February 6, 2012

W. BASKETBALL | Squad Falls to Crimson, Tops Green

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Cornell women’s basketball (9-10-0, 3-2-0 Ivy League) saw mixed results this weekend, losing 67-57 to Harvard (11-8, 4-1) on Friday, but securing a 71-60 win against Dartmouth (3-16, 1-4) the following evening. The weekend was a test for the Red, serving not only as its first league double header, but also as its primary opportunity to face tougher competition on the home court.

The Red started off on strong footing against Harvard, maintaining a lead for the entirety of the first half. Yet a slip in the final minutes of the half allowed the Crimson to tie the game at 28 all. The women fought to stay with Harvard for rest of the game.

“We started off really strong,” said sophomore Allyson DiMagno. “We had an answer for every run they had. We fought back hard at the end … it was disappointing the way we lost.”

The second half began with Harvard scoring six straight points in under two minutes. DiMagno, junior forward Clare Fitzpatrick and junior guard Taylor Flynn all added points to the board for Cornell, but their efforts were ultimately not enough.

“It was an up tempo game. I thought we played very well in spurts, especially on the defensive end,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We held [Harvard] to a low 3-point shot percentage, which is something they like to do … but they had a couple runs offensively, we turned the ball over, missed some shots, and they’re too good of a team not to be able to capitalize on that. Our effort and intensity was good, but we need to limit the amount of mistakes we make, especially when facing an opponent like that.”

Cornell came close to catching up in the second half, but Harvard went 8-for-8 in free throws in the game’s final minute and a half to secure the win.

“With three minutes left we were able to come back, but were ultimately unable to close that gap,” said junior guard Spencer Lane. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds … it was an unfortunate loss.”

Cornell had no time to dwell on the defeat, as the women faced a challenging game against Dartmouth. The Red started out strong, securing 11 points before the Green was able to get a point on the board.

“The first 10 to 15 minutes we played very good basketball,” Smith said. “Defensively we were moving, active, talking. … [Sophomore guard] Allyson DiMagno stood out, she had a great presence about herself on both ends of the court. She finished off rebounds, and was our scorer for the evening.”

DiMagno had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the game, her third double-double of the season. Fitzpatrick added 10 points for the Red, senior forward Maka Anyanwu had eight and Lane contributed six points, five assists and three steals.

“Saturday we came out really strong,” DiMagno said. “We carried that momentum through the first half … it was an intense game but really fun to play.”

Dartmouth responded to Cornell’s initial lead, finishing the half only four points behind the Red. The teams battled out the second half, with the Green taking the lead with three minutes remaining.

“We made a ton of mistakes in the second half,” Smith said. “We made poor decisions with the ball, maybe even sloppy and didn’t play good basketball. Fortunately we got back on track, had big defensive rebounds, finished free throws. So I’m happy with the win but we know we can play better than that.”

With just over a minute left Cornell was down by one point, but Lane found Fitzpatrick for a jump shot that put the Red ahead by one with 40 seconds to go. Fitzpatrick added a free throw shot for the Red, and DiMagno sunk two more with four seconds to go before sealing the win.

“Overall I liked our effort [this weekend],” Smith said. “It was our first back-to-back weekend, and we learned what that means … we’re still a young team. We’re going to need our bench to be productive through the next couple weekends, we had some good learning lessons, and hopefully we’ll improve this week and have two good games [next weekend].”

The results of this weekend tied Cornell with Yale for third place in the league. Cornell is set to face the Bulldogs this Saturday.

“We’re disappointed not coming out with two wins at home, but we’re going into the next weekend with same attitude,” DiMagno said. “If we play our style of basketball, we’ll play a solid team effort. Both games this weekend had a little drop off in energy, so we’ll work on maintaining that throughout next weekend.”

“We didn’t win both games, but we’re feeling good,” Lane said. “We’ve got confidence, and this upcoming weekend, if we can get two wins it’ll be big for us. Even with the loss to Harvard we still feel like we’re the better team. Getting two more Ivy wins [next weekend] will keep our chances for the Ivy League championships, and our goal is to win as many games as we can.”

Original Author: Rebecca Velez