February 13, 2012

W. BASKETBALL | Squad Winless in Weekend Games

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It was a disappointing weekend for the Cornell women (9-12, 3-4 Ivy League), who began the road trip with hopes of putting themselves atop the league. The team now stands at fifth in the Ivy League, after losing to Yale (14-8, 6-2), 86-73, on Friday night and Brown (14-8, 5-3), 60-49, on Saturday.

“This weekend was a little disappointing,” said sophomore guard Allyson DiMagno. “A lot of us are upset with the way we played and the results this weekend.”

Yale came out on Friday night ready to play, according to head coach Dayna Smith. In the first seven minutes of the game the Bulldogs were able to gain a double-figure lead, finishing the half 16 points ahead of the Red.

“Yale came out on fire,” Smith said. “Our defense let us down in a few possessions, but we really have to tip our hats to Yale. When they came out scoring, it was almost like a shock. We needed to regroup, get our focus, make some adjustments.”

At halftime Cornell made a few changes to its style of play and was able to out-shoot the Bulldogs in the second half, according to junior forward Clare Fitzpatrick. Yet the lost ground gained from the first few minutes proved to be too much to overcome.

“The second half we played Cornell basketball,”  Fitzpatrick said. “But the first half had put us in a hole that we couldn’t recover from. It was a good comeback, but basketball is forty minutes long … You can’t get back that first half.”

The Red returned to the drawing board, trying to brainstorm a new plan of attack for the second half.

“We were able to make a couple runs,” DiMagno said. “We switched the way we were playing zone, made more shots and shot better, but they made 16 3-pointers [in the game]. “

Junior guard Spencer Lane tallied a career-high 18 points in Cornell’s effort, while Fitzpatrick added 14. Yet Yale was able to create a 23-point lead in the final minutes to secure the game, 86-73.

“I liked our response in the second half,” Smith said. “But when you play a good team and create that gap, it’s too much to close out.”

The Red had little time to dwell on the loss, as the team traveled to Providence, R.I. to face Brown the following night. The team hoped to recreate the energy it had found in the second half against Yale, but between the travel and an illness that affected some of the team’s starting line, things were not meant to be, according to Smith.

“It was a game where other people earned some time, but unfortunately because of the illness, we weren’t able to do some things we would have liked to do,” she said.

The game started slowly for both teams, but ended with Cornell up 20-14 at half time. Junior guard Taylor Flynn earned her first start, and was able to score 16 points for the Red, including the first eight points of the game.

“It was a great first half,” DiMagno said. “In the second half we had some turnovers that were costly. It was really a back and forth affair until the last few minutes.”

Flynn was able to sink a shot with four minutes remaining to tie the game, but Brown never relinquished the lead after that. Several free-throws late in the game pushed Brown’s lead into double digits, leaving the final score 60-49.

“I’m proud of the girls that were able to step out on to the court on Saturday,” Smith said. “It goes to show how important our benches are going to be. We have to continue to work and improve … for this week we’re going to get back to basics on the offensive end, working on executing and finishing.”

Cornell’s next challenge comes this weekend, as the Red faces Princeton and Penn at home.

“We’re all really positive, we know we can play better than this weekend,” Fitzpatrick said. “We know we’ll get some more wins in the Ivy League.”

Original Author: Rebecca Velez