The Cornell women’s basketball team played its final two regular season road games this weekend, splitting the pair of games against Ivy League rivals Penn and Princeton.
Cornell (15-10, 6-6 Ivy) suffered a tough double-digit loss to Penn on Friday before bouncing back with an impressive 11 point win over Princeton.
“We felt pretty good about the split,” said senior Kerri Moran. “[While] we did not play well at all against Penn, [we] were able to regroup and figure out what we needed to do in order to beat Princeton.
Friday’s game at Penn featured poor offensive performances from both teams. Cornell had only a single player in double figures — senior Megan LeDuc with 13 points — while shooting just 26 percent from the field and 18 percent from three-point range. Penn did not fare much better, shooting 37 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc.
Both team’s totals — Penn’s 47 and Cornell’s 34 — were season lows in points scored.
“Coming off [the] upsetting loss against Penn, we really fueled that frustration against Princeton,” said senior Nicholle Aston. “We knew that we came up just short the last time we played them, so we really looked to make key adjustments on the defensive end.”
After the rough shooting night against Penn, the Red refocused its efforts for the following matchup against Princeton — a game in which senior Nia Marshall would have the opportunity to surpass Karen Walker ’91 and become the program’s all-time leading scorer.
“We also knew it was an important game for Nia, as she had a very high chance of breaking the all-time scoring record in the game against Princeton,” Moran said. “We wanted to make the game memorable for Nia and wanted her to remember that moment as a win not just for herself, but for the whole team.”
The Red certainly made the game memorable, improving drastically from its previous outing. Cornell had a balanced offensive attack, with four players scoring in double figures, and shot 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from long distance.
“We had a lot more rhythm to our offense in the second game and had the confidence to hit open shots,” Aston said.
The Red performed equally as well on the other end of the court. Cornell held their opponents to a scant 27 percent from the field and 11 percent from three-point range, in addition to forcing 15 turnovers.
With the impressive offensive and defensive improvements, Cornell notched a 55-44 win over Princeton, breaking a 17-game losing streak against the Tigers. Marshall ended the night as the Red’s all-time leading scorer, with her 12 points bringing her career total to 1,657 points and surpassing the previous 1,650 point mark set by Walker.
“As we enter the final weekend of the regular season we know that we still have things to improve upon, [but] our morale is definitely high right now, as we beat Princeton for the first time in seven years,” Moran said.
Cornell now moves into sole possession of fourth place in the Ivy League standings after a previous tie with Brown.
The Red will end its regular season this weekend at home, against Yale and Brown. Cornell will hope to hold onto the fourth seed in order to gain an invitation to this year’s inaugural Ivy League tournament.
“We know that the fourth spot is ours for the taking, [and] we just need to finish out this last weekend,” Aston said. “[This weekend] is our senior night weekend at home, so using that emotion to get a sweep for our last weekend at Newman Arena will be a great advantage for us.”
Cornell plays in its last two regular season games at Newman Arena this weekend against Yale on Friday, Mar. 3 at 6 p.m. and Brown on Saturday, Mar. 4 at 5 p.m.