By JOSHUA BEHLER
Coming off of a 76-62 win against the Colgate Raiders last Friday, the Red (1-0) traveled to Alumni Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday to take on the Bulls (2-0). Despite a tough start in the opening stages, the Red bounced back in the second half and earned a 79-72 win over the upstart Bulls, marking the first time that the program has started (2-0) since the 1995-96 season.
The Bulls opened strong, scoring 10 unanswered points right out of the gate. The early offense by the Bulls caught Cornell off guard and took the Red out of its game in the first half — the squad was unable to figure out Buffalo’s attack and entered the locker room trailing by three at halftime. Still, the Red showed true character in the second half, bouncing back and winning the half by a margin of ten points en route to its seven point victory.
“I think we won ugly against Buffalo,” senior guard and captain Stephanie Long said. “We came out a little sloppy in the first half and they were able to capitalize on some putbacks and defensive breakdowns. Still, I was proud of the effort we gave in the second half, especially on defense. We were able to buckle down and get stops which allowed us to get out and run. Overall, I think it was a great team win and one that showed our ability to adapt.”
The Red was anchored by strong performances from senior guard and captain Allyson DiMagno, who posted 16 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Allison Bockrath contributed a career high 13 points — nine of which came from behind the arch. Cornell’s bench also came up big down the stretch, accounting for 33 points and providing crucial defensive stops and great energy in the second half as the Red battled fatigue, injuries and foul trouble.
Head coach Dayna Smith called the performance “a tale of two halves.”
“I think our first half was a little too relaxed,” she said. “We didn’t come out with a sense of urgency and it showed. They were able to dictate the pace on offense and defense, so that’s something we have to work on going forward — coming out aggressive and really setting the tone.”
Still, it was a hard fought victory for the Red, who clawed its way back into the game with its defense in the second half.
“I thought our effort in the second half was much better,” Smith said. “We came out a lot stronger on the defensive end and in particular in our full court press. We were able to get some stops on [and] get out on the break which is something we always want to do. Overall, I think it was a good win, we just need to stay consistent for all 40 minutes.”
Consistency will be the name of the game for the Red as the squad travels to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. on Monday to take on the Orange who, like Cornell, boast a (2-0) record.