Women’s basketball (10-16, 3-10 Ivy) hosted Yale (12-14, 6-7 Ivy) in a tough rivalry battle on Saturday, February 25.
The Red was coming off of a loss against Harvard (15-10, 8-5 Ivy) last weekend, and this week the team focused on adapting to Yale’s play.
“We put a big emphasis on focusing on us and stopping them from getting in our heads and dictating how the game goes,” said senior forward Anna Hovis.
Yale started strong, opening up the scoring with a layup in the paint during the first two minutes of play. Senior guard Shannon Mulroy scored the Red’s first points four minutes into the quarter.
Both Yale’s offense and defense were ready for the matchup, capitalizing on rebounds and free throws.
“They got to the foul line a lot. We talked about not bailing them out when we were in foul trouble right from the beginning,” said head coach Dayna Smith.
The Red had a slow start against the Bulldogs and ended the quarter trailing, 18-13. At the start of the second quarter, Cornell was still having trouble keeping up with Yale’s offense.
“We played a lot of man-to-man and had to worry about ball screens,” Smith said. “We did a good job shutting down [their screens], but unfortunately we gave up a lot of rebounds and didn’t finish possession, so it wasn’t quite what we needed and wanted.”
With multiple three pointers, Yale’s shots were finding the basket. However, the Red continued to struggle to generate offense.
“We took some pretty poor shots in the first half and settled for a lot of perimeter looks,” Smith said.
At the half, Cornell was down, 40-23. Starting the second half, the Red adapted its strategy.
“We were funneling them to go on runs and not really responding well,” Hovis said. “So [Coach Smith] wanted us to have our own runs and focus on not letting them dictate how the game goes.”
The third quarter was still a struggle for Cornell as it tried to come back from a 17-point deficit. Senior guard Ania McNicholas scored the first points of the quarter on a fastbreak in the paint.
Cornell scored two additional baskets, causing the Bulldogs to take a timeout at the 5:11 mark in the third. After the pause in play, Yale came back with strong offense and ended the quarter with a three-pointer scored with three seconds left on the clock. At the end of the third quarter, Cornell still trailed the Bulldogs, 56-35.
The Red brought a new offensive intensity at the start of the fourth quarter, with Mulroy scoring a three-pointer within the first 20 seconds of play. The team kept up the momentum, with freshman forward Emily Pape scoring a layup on a fastbreak.
Despite gaining an offensive advantage at some points in the fourth, the Red was unable to overcome the lead that the Bulldogs had built in the previous three quarters. Cornell lost its last home game, 63-42.
This Saturday, March 4, the Red will travel to New York City to play Ivy frontrunner Columbia (22-4, 11-2 Ivy).
“We just have to be really focused and disciplined,” Smith said. “We have to find some way to slow them down on the offensive end.”