While the rest of campus was enjoying winter break, the Cornell women’s basketball team was busy in the middle of its season. The 10-6 team competed in seven games over break, winning five of them. The Red was challenged by teams from Stanford, California State University at Fullerton, Binghamton, Howard, Delaware State and Columbia.
Cornell is currently in a three-way tie for first in the Ivy League with Yale and the Penn, boasting a 2-0 record against conference opponents, picking up two victories against Columbia. Following the strong break, the team is now focused on keeping up the momentum for the rest of the season, according to head coach Dayna Smith.
“We played different teams [over break]: some athletic, some up-tempo, some teams were set orientated,” Smith said. “This did a pretty good job of preparing us for Ivy League opponents. Our non-conference schedule was difficult but it was also very beneficial to us.”
The Red opened winter break with a dominant 59-35 victory over Fairfield. Cornell limited the Stags to fewer than 10 points in three quarters of the game.
Next up for the Red was a road trip out west to take on Stanford and California State- Fullerton. Cornell split the pair of games, getting blown out against the Cardinal and using a strong second half to top the Titans.
The Red returned home to take on Binghamton in a battle of upstate rivals. Junior Nia Marshall shined, scoring 31 points on 15 of 16 shooting from the floor. She currently leads the league in scoring.
Despite junior forward Nicholle Aston’s double-double, Cornell fell to Howard on the road, 76-74. Ashton scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Cornell finished off its nonconference portion of games with a 71-62 victory against Delaware State. Both Marshall and Aston had double-doubles in the victory as the Red held off a late rally in Ithaca.
To open the Ivy League slate of games, Cornell swept Columbia with two strong victories. In the first game, the Red used a dominant second half to come away with the win. In Ithaca on Saturday, junior guard Megan LeDuc connected on four of five field goals to power Cornell to a 84-73 victory over the Lions.
The team looks to use winter break’s games as stepping stones for the full Ivy League schedule beginning this Friday and Saturday.
“We want to compete for an Ivy championship, that is our main goal,” Smith said. “But as a more specific goal, we want to get better every day … We want to play as a team offensively and defensively. We want to play together and work towards progress.”
Cornell hosts Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend.