Women’s basketball kicked off the season away in Hamilton, New York against Colgate (1-1, 0-0 Patriot League). Followed by another game on the road against Fairleigh Dickinson University (1-1, 0-0 NEC).
Head coach Dayna Smith returned for her 20th season with Cornell. The team welcomed four freshman recruits, but are still experiencing some inexperience amongst the whole team.
“We lost two significant pieces with Theresa Grace Mbanefo and Sam Will leaving or graduating. They possessed a lot of minutes. They were our leaders. They were captains,” Smith said. “We might have a lot of people back, but we are still an inexperienced team. Unfortunately, in the fall, we had quite a few injuries so we weren’t really able to play the way we needed to earlier in our preseason and in our practices.”
The Red started the season strong with the first point scored by sophomore forward, Summer Parker-Hall with a free throw in the first minute of the game.
Colgate was able to pull ahead of Cornell with three fast breaks in the last two minutes of the quarter. The Raiders went into the second quarter with a 20-12 lead.
The Red came into the second quarter with a new fire, trailing just 26-22, forcing Colgate to take a timeout with 4:48 left.
Colgate adjusted and went into halftime with a lead of 37-28.
Going into the third quarter, Cornell continuously missed the net, with three missed shots answered by three baskets for Colgate, making the score 43-30. Cornell took a timeout with 6:28 left in the quarter.
Senior guard Shannon Mulroy closed the quarter with a five point gain for the Red, ending the third quarter 49-35.
Cornell wasn’t able to gain the offensive advantage in the fourth quarter, missing six layups, ending the game with a 62-48 loss.
Going into the game against FDU, the team focused on score production and communication.
“Something really big for us has been matching up and just communicating,” Mulroy said.
The Red opened the game with solid defense, keeping FDU to a two point lead at the end of the quarter.
The Knights were able to gain a greater lead in the second quarter with two Cornell fouls that led to four successful free throws for FDU. The Red lacked on their defensive side resulting in seven turnovers, ending the quarter with a score of 37-28.
“We started the game off much stronger in the first quarter, and then we got into a bit of foul trouble and started reverting back to some poor decision making and shot taking in the second quarter,” Smith said.
The third quarter did not prove to be much better for the Red after the lead FDU gained in the first half. Cornell was not able to combat FDU’s strong offensive strategy.
“At times we did it and put points on the board, and then there were other times where we couldn’t,” Smith said. “We have to have more consistent play across the board.”
Entering the fourth quarter trailing 56-40, the Red made a last offensive push, attempting multiple three-point shots. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t find the net and Cornell lost 62-51.
When asked about how the team is preparing for the rest of the season, Smith emphasized communication.
“To me, I’d say that 50 percent of the scores they had in transition were us just not communicating with one another and matching up,” Smith said.
Mulroy commented that communication was a key aspect of practices this week.
“We haven’t been great at communicating at times, but that’s something that we really focused on in practice this week and we’re hoping to bring that into the game against Lafayette,” Smith said.
Cornell will have their home opener in Newman Arena this Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. against the Leopards (1-2, 0-0 Patriot League).