Cornell (3-4, 0-0 Ivy) ended Thanksgiving break with a split weekend, after playing out of conference teams.
The Red first faced Western Kentucky University (1-3, 0-0 C-USA) on Friday at home.
Cornell stayed strong the entire game, never allowing Western Kentucky to gain the lead.
“When it came to game day, our energy was high the entire time. […] We were very excited to play and we were ready,” said sophomore forward Summer Parker-Hall.
The Red started the game with the first score off of a fastbreak by Parker-Hall. The team kept up the energy through the first half, capitalizing on multiple fast breaks and second chance points. Parker-Hall led the team with 11 game rebounds.
“We were being physical,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We played really good defense.”
Three Cornell players were in double digit scoring. Senior guard Ania McNicholas led with 17 points, followed by junior guard Kaya Ingram with 16 points and junior guard Mia Beam with 10 points.
“We had 3 players in double digit scoring and anytime that happens, that’s a really positive sign for us,” Smith said. “We aren’t relying on one or two people to get things done. We had a real team effort as far as putting the ball in the basket.”
The Red emerged victorious against Western Kentucky with a final score of 57-50.
Following their win on Friday, Cornell began to prepare for their first Big Ten game of the season against Rutgers (4-4, 0-0 Big Ten) at Piscataway, New Jersey.
“I think our team as a whole is really good at knowing their role,” Parker-Hall said. “So, when we prepare for games, we do scout and our scout team is really good in practices to help mimic who we will play.”
The game started with an untraditional start with the Red being awarded an administrative technical foul. Ingram took the shot and put Cornell on the board before tip off.
The game was competitive through the first half, and going into halftime the Red was only down by eight points, 29-21.
Going into the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights expanded their lead against Cornell with several steals and fastbreaks. The Red trailed 46-35 at the start of the fourth.
Cornell adjusted their press going into the first quarter and they were able to cause some chaos on the offensive end. However, Rutgers was able to overcome this challenge and expanded their lead in the last quarter, scoring 25 additional points, compared to the Red’s 17 point gain.
The game ended in a 71-52 loss for Cornell.
“I thought we handled it well in some stretches,” Smith said. “The first quarter was great. We had a bit of a letdown offensively and defensively in the second quarter. […] We regrouped a little in the third but we finished strong in the fourth.”
Competing against a Big Ten team gave the Red an opportunity to play against bigger competition.
“They have Big Ten athletes and they just have a different level of size and speed,” Smith said. “It was a good challenge for us and I thought we handled it well.”
Tonight, Cornell will face rival Binghamton (4-3, 0-0 American East) on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., hoping to add another win to their record.