Claire Li/Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell's women's basketball team gathers for a coaching during their game against UMass Lowell on Dec. 1, 2021.

January 24, 2023

Women’s Basketball Falls to Ivy Rivals Over Break

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Over the winter break, women’s basketball (8-11, 1-5 Ivy) closed out their non-conference matchups and began Ivy play in January.  

“When you hit conference games, you understand personnel a little bit more and you play the [same] teams year in and year out. […] We were able to see the tendencies of what the team is doing, but we’re still pretty young,” said head coach Dayna Smith about the start of conference play. 

First to face Cornell, was Dartmouth (2-18, 0-6 Ivy). The Red was in the lead for the entire game with senior guard Ania McNicholas leading in points, scoring 17 of the Red’s 61. The Red won by a final score of 61-48.

“When we’re all communicating and on the same page on the defensive end of the floor, we can get a lot of stops and use our skills,” said freshman forward Emily Pape. 

After Dartmouth, the Red traveled to Philadelphia to face the University of Pennsylvania (13-6, 5-1 Ivy). At the end of the first quarter, both teams were neck and neck, with Penn leading 17-16. However, Cornell began to slip in the second quarter due to three fastbreaks gained by the Quakers. 

Cornell outscored Penn in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to bring victory to the Red ending in a loss of 62-54.

After Philadelphia, the Red headed to Princeton (13-5, 4-2 Ivy). This was a tough game for the Red. Princeton capitalized on turnovers, scoring 19 points throughout game play. Cornell’s shots were not making it, with a field goal percentage of 42. 

“They have a talented roster and we allowed them to do some of the things they are very good at. We turned the ball over and we were pretty sloppy with our passing which led to a lot of transition,” Smith said. 

The Red fell to the Tigers by a final score of 70-48.

Following a tough game in New Jersey, the Red returned to Ithaca to regroup and hit the road again a week later. 

Cornell traveled to Connecticut to play Yale (10-9, 4-2 Ivy). The Red began strong, only trailing the Bulldogs 31-27 at the half. However, Yale gained traction in the third quarter and created multiple successful fastbreaks. 

“We were able to stop them and have some good stops and steals, which lead to transition points. So I would say that kept us in the game. […] The third quarter hurt us because we didn’t come out with the same intensity as we did in the beginning of the game,” Pape said.

The Red fell to Yale, 68-56.

Cornell once again returned home to face Columbia (16-3, 5-1 Ivy) in a tough match-up. The Red had difficulty from the beginning keeping up with the speed and intensity of the Lions. 

“They were really scoring and transitioning, getting out in the open and scoring quickly. You have to slow them down and bring the game down into the 60s or 70s. We just weren’t able to do that and not many teams have,” Smith said. 

Cornell could not compete with Columbia’s scoring accuracy of 63 percent on field goals and 47.4 percent on 3-pointers. The game ended in a 91-64 loss for the Red. 

Closing out winter break, Cornell hosted Harvard (11-7, 4-2 Ivy). The game was competitive through the third quarter. 

“How we come out in the third quarter is super important and can control how the rest of the game will go,” Pape said. 

The Red brought intensity to the second half, but Harvard was able to get five fastbreaks in the fourth quarter that clinched the win for them, 66-53.

With their Harvard loss, Cornell has fallen to five of the seven Ivy teams. 

“Our league is very, very good,” Smith said. “I think it was a little eye-opening for [our players] and it’s not totally corrected but you can see improvement in our team on a daily basis.”

Cornell continues Ivy play and will travel to Providence, Rhode Island to face Brown (8-10, 1-5 Ivy) this Saturday at noon.