After a five game losing streak, women’s basketball (9-11, 2-5 Ivy) faced Brown (8-11, 1-6 Ivy), in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 28.
“[Brown] is going to be a challenge for us on the road,” said head coach Dayna Smith leading up to Saturday’s game.
Cornell was coming off of five consecutive losses in Ivy play, but the team did not let that be a source of discouragement.
“As a team, we were really locked in the whole week…we did a lot of extra prep early in the week and focused on specific game plans,” said junior guard Kaya Ingram.
The Red started the game strong with a free throw scored by senior forward Anna Hovis in the first minute of play.
The team was working as a unit throughout the first half, which set it up nicely to combat the Bears’ zone defense.
“There were some very specific places where we felt like we could get shots…[We weren’t] making one or two passes and taking a shot. We made the defense shift, getting the ball around the perimeter of the offense from side to side on the court,” Smith said.
This tactic proved successful against Brown, and the Red was able to hold the lead the entire first half, heading back to the locker room with a 31-29 lead.
Cornell brought intensity to the third quarter with freshman forward Emily Pape scoring a jumper seven seconds into play.
“We sometimes struggle in the third quarter, but I think against Brown, we really tried to focus on coming out strong,” Ingram said.
The team exploited the high post area and was able to score eight points in the paint during the third quarter.
Transitioning into the fourth, the Red faltered slightly on defense and Brown was able to gain 14 points with multiple layups.
“I thought we lost ourselves a little bit on the defensive end and we were getting caught not playing the speed that we want to play,” Smith said.
The lead swapped between the Red and the Bears four times in the final 15 minutes. The fourth quarter was the only period of the game where Cornell did not control the lead.
Eventually, Cornell’s offense was able to balance the stall in its defensive game.
“We were able to get [Pape] some pretty open looks in the half court and people just hit their shots,” Smith said.
Cornell came out on top by a final score of 66-61, its first win in four weeks.
Pape was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after her performance against Brown. She put up a career-high 27 points and scored her first career three-pointer at Cornell.
“She comes in every single day and works on her shot and her game… she’s not just one dimensional and has been able to help us in a variety of ways. I was really proud of her effort and happy for her,” Smith said.
The team is preparing for a doubleheader this weekend at home against Princeton (14-5, 5-2 Ivy) on Friday at 6 p.m. and Penn (13-7, 5-2 Ivy) this Saturday at 4 p.m.