On Friday, women’s basketball suffered a lopsided road loss that could have been demoralizing. Less than 24 hours later, the Red’s players laced them up again with a trip to the Ivy League Tournament on the line.
The Red started the doubleheader weekend extremely slowly in Cambridge, recording more turnovers than points in the first half against Harvard — the Red turned the ball over 16 times while scoring just 12 points in the first.
Harvard put in a solid shooting performance, making 34.5 percent from the perimeter on 29 attempts, while Cornell struggled mightily from the field, managing an abysmal 27.3 percent. The final score was ugly: 80-38 in favor of Harvard.
“Harvard knew they needed a win and they were unquestionably the better team on the day,” said Head Coach Dayna Smith. “They scored 26 points from second chances, clearly showing their determination and immense ability to press.”
Due to the poor start, Smith decided to use her bench players earlier than usual, saving the Red’s legs for the all-important second game of the weekend doubleheader.
”The loss did not affect us too much, as we knew the Dartmouth game was pivotal and we knew we needed 100 percent focus,” Smith said.
The Red had to quickly regain its confidence during the short turnaround before the game against Dartmouth.
“The team had a very high intensity during the shootaround on Saturday,” Smith said. “This positive mentality was reflected in our first half performance.”
Cornell’s shooting woes against Harvard did not follow to the Dartmouth game as the Red improved to 47 percent from the field in game two. The Red was far more defensively sound as well, only allowing Dartmouth two second-chance points and 10 points off turnovers on the way to a 57-47 victory.
“Laura Bagwell and Samantha Will were our standout players,” Smith said. “Both of them were terrific and had the ability to take on the Dartmouth defense with ease.”
The Red will now take on a formidable foe in the Ivy League tournament in top-seeded Princeton, led by reigning Ivy player of the year Bella Alarie.
“Princeton is a terrific basketball team and this is definitely a tall task to overcome,” Smith said. “They are a tough and scrappy team … we have immense respect for them.”
Cornell will take on Princeton in New Haven on March 16 at 6 p.m.