The Cornell women’s basketball team staged a late game comeback that fell short as the team lost to Dartmouth on the road, 84-74. The loss puts the Red at an even record in Ivy League play as season nears its conclusion.
The Red fought back from an 18-point deficit, after the Big Green came out fast and furious.
“I think Dartmouth came out hungry for a win after an upsetting loss to Columbia the night before, and we came out flat,“ said senior Megan LeDuc.
The Big Green played a high-paced game which caught Cornell on its heels.
“Dartmouth was ready to play and came out strong hitting 80 percent from the three-point line,” said freshman Samantha Widmann who scored 12 points off the bench. “Dartmouth added a fast pace to the game which led to [its] transition points [leading] to their lead.”
Head coach Dayna Smith attributes Dartmouth’s quick lead to a mismatch on offense and defense.
“Dartmouth … came out very strong in the first half; they were pretty relentless on defense,” Smith said. “Our defense uncharacteristically lacked a bit of focus so we fell behind quickly.”
But the Red did not go down without a fight. The team staged a valiant second half comeback campaign lead by Leduc, who claimed a season high 19 points for the team.
“I was just thinking that we always have a chance,” LeDuc said. “Once we started being effective offensively, we started to gain momentum, but our [lack of] defense allowed Dartmouth to maintain the lead.”
Widmann found strength in her team’s previous second half comebacks.
“Coming into the fourth quarter I was fighting for my teammates and I knew we had it in us to come back, especially knowing that we excel during the second half of games,” Widmann said.
Despite Cornell’s effort, Dartmouth’s quick start proved too large for the Red to overcome.
“I am very proud of the second half effort,” Smith said. “Unfortunately we dug ourselves into a hole that was too deep. We have to be ready to play two nights in a row.”
The team is now looking toward the final leg of a five-game away stretch as it faces Ivy League competition against Brown and Yale this weekend. In these matchups, Smith hopes to see an upgrade in defense.
“We have to improve on penetration defense as well as in our help rotation,” Smith said. “We didn’t rotate and finish possessions, which hurt us this past weekend. We can also do better rebounding, which is also very important for us moving forward.”
The Red hopes to utilize this loss as a stepping stone with the team looking to progress late in the season. The team is third in the conference and will use this defeat as motivation to bring an extra spark to its last few away games.
“I think these losses provide us with an even larger incentive to win our final road games,” LeDuc said. “We’re still tied for third place in the league and we need to learn from these losses so we can improve our standings in the conference.”
Cornell hits the road to face Brown on Friday at 6 p.m. and then Yale on Saturday at 6 p.m.