After a dominating victory over Brown on Friday, Cornell women’s basketball’s momentum died in the second half against Yale on Saturday after leading by 14 points — handing the Red its first home loss since Dec. 10.
Junior guard Kate Sramac, senior co-captain guard/forward Samantha Widmann and freshman guard Shannon Mulroy had strong performances in both games, showing potential for a strong run throughout the rest of the season.
It was Mulroy who had the hot hand in the overtime win against Columbia in the weekend prior — she continued her streak against Brown, hitting the first three of the game just 50 seconds into the first quarter. From there, the Red continued to capitalize on scoring chances and Brown never saw a chance to even the game. The Red went on to win, 74-63.
The win was born of the Red’s suffocating defense and the starpower of several Cornell players. Widmann scored 25 points and Sramac finished with 11, both shooting 100 percent from the arc.
Mulroy continued to impress, finishing with 22 points and 7 assists. Her four-point play after executing a contested three and getting the extra free throw with 1:35 left in the game was the final blow that made Brown give up all hope.
Junior forward Halley Miklos came up big in key situations — once during the third quarter, when she recorded a block to halt a Brown scoring run, and again in the fourth quarter, when she calmly knocked down two free throws to secure a six-point lead.
The defense employed several strategies to keep Brown from scoring. At first, they used a zone defense scheme, continuously switching between players once they realized the Red had a significant advantage in size.
Later in the game, the Red switched back to man-to-man defense, which confused the Brown players who had grown accustomed to the zone defense. The Red frequently pressed Brown players whenever they were isolated near the halfline, ultimately inducing 19 turnovers.
The Red looked to grab its second consecutive win against Yale, but fell short to the league leaders. Unfortunately, the home court advantage was not enough to give the Red a win over Yale’s powerful players.
In the first half, Cornell looked like it would put away the win. The Red had excellent momentum, with three-point shooting on target and executing solid free-throws.
Mulroy landed both her three-point shots and Widmann converted seven of eight from the free-throw line. Senior guard Danielle Jorgenson snagged a three-pointer at the end of the second quarter and Cornell went into the locker room at halftime leading Yale, 40-26.
But the second half was a completely different story. The Bulldogs came alive and after outscoring the Red 28-14 in the third quarter, the game was all tied up at 54-54 going into the fourth.
It was all about defense at the beginning of the fourth quarter, as neither team could get the ball in the basket for almost the first four minutes of play. Finally, Sramac landed a jump shot which was quickly answered by Yale’s Camilla Emsbo. The Bulldogs went on to gain seven unanswered points and sent the Red scrambling.
The Red had some standout players, with three reaching double-digit scoring. Widmann had 20 points, Sramac 14 and Mulroy finished with 10. Widmann also showed her prowess with two steals, a block and six rebounds and assists for the night. It just wasn’t enough — the Bulldogs got on the team bus with a 74-67 win over the Big Red.
Cornell is now 9-7 for the season and 2-2 in the Ivy League. The Red will hit the road next week to take on Princeton on Friday at 6 p.m. and Penn on Saturday at 7 p.m.