Most Cornellians’ idea of a double-header over the Thanksgiving break was following up the turkey with pumpkin pie — there may never be a greater one-two punch in the realm of holiday feasting.
But for the women’s basketball team, it was two full servings of hard-nosed basketball as the Red took on Central Connecticut State and Bryant at the Rhody Classic. Cornell dropped its first contest before beating Bryant on Saturday.[img_assist|nid=33913|title=One-woman wrecking machine|desc=Junior guard Virginia McMunigal (4) outscored Central Connecticut State in the opening minutes of Friday’s matchup, 13-5, but the early lead disappeared.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Prior to Saturday’s game against IUPUI, it had been four years since senior captain Lacey Workman played a game of basketball in her home state of Indiana. The last time she played in the Hoosier state, Workman helped lead Ben Davis High to a sectional championship. Less than a year removed from the Ivy championship, Workman and the Red lost to IUPUI 66-57 in her bittersweet homecoming.
Cornell (1-2) got out to a quick start, connecting on its first four shots during a nine-point run after falling behind 4-0. The Jaguars (3-1) mounted a quick comeback, taking a 10-9 lead before exchanging the lead twice more until the Red finally held 15-13 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half.
The University of Albany women’s basketball team apparently isn’t afraid of anyone. To open their 2008-09 schedule, the Great Danes first left New York to visit California, the ninth-ranked team in the nation, before facing off with the MAAC preseason favorite, Marist.
Albany will continue its tradition of facing high-profile opponents when it plays the defending Ivy League champs tonight at Newman Arena. After losing 63-39 to California and 74-56 at Marist, the Great Danes (0-2) are still looking for their first win of the season. The Red (0-1) will be trying to avoid the same 0-2 start Albany has had, but this early in the season, a win is almost an added bonus.
The 2007-08 season was the most successful campaign in school history for the women’s basketball team. Eleven Ivy wins and 20 overall wins were both school records, accumulated on the way to the Red’s first Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament berth.
[img_assist|nid=33587|title=Bigger, better Benson|desc=Junior co-captain and starting point guard Lauren Benson (23) will help lead the Red’s offense this year following a sophomore year that included a new school season assists record.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The title run will culminate tonight with the raising of the championship banner prior to the men’s basketball game, just two days before the women begin their title defense against Duquesne.
Tonight, the Red will take Schoellkopf Field for its final game of the year against Mansfield University in a non-conference battle. Despite it being the final game of the season, and the final game for the team’s 22 seniors, the team will be more anxious to hear from Annapolis, Md., where Navy and Army are set to face off in the game that will determine if Cornell wins a CSFL championship — although Cornell will have no say in the matter.[img_assist|nid=33163|title=Still counts|desc=In a non-conference matchup with Mansfield tonight to close out Cornell’s season, senior sprint football captain Michael Brennan (10) will be one of the 22 seniors to take the field for the last time.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Twenty-two men, three of whom will be earning their fourth varsity letter. Two thousand five hundred and thirty-three passing yards for captain Zak Dentes, the most in school history. Eleven conference wins. Three years without losing a game at Schoellkopf Field. Three consecutive winning seasons — the first consecutive seasons over .500 since 1988. One undefeated season, and one CSFL championship. These highlight reel takes were all accomplished by one senior class.
The 22 senior members of the sprint football team will take the field for the final time tomorrow against Mansfield, a team new to the CSFL. Mansfield isn’t the only new thing the current seniors will have seen come to Schoellkopf — the class also shepherded in Cornell’s recent winning tradition Cornell.
It was almost as if red wasn’t only the color of Cornell’s jerseys, but also the color of their ruby slippers on Friday night. After losing to the Quakers at Franklin Field to start the 2008 season, the Red took on Penn at Schoellkopf Field this weekend and followed the yellow brick road to a 23-20 victory.
In a back-and-forth battle with four lead changes, Penn (4-1, 2-1 CSFL) got on the board first with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Michael D’Angelo. Cornell (3-2, 2-1) responded quickly with a three-yard quarterback scramble by senior captain Zak Dentes to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Last year, Cornell opened its season with an exciting 23-18 win over Penn, only to lose by one score in the teams’ second meeting later in the season — the game that counts toward the CSFL record. After dropping this season’s opener to the Quakers, the Red will be looking to return the favor tonight at Schoellkopf.
In this year’s opener against Penn — counted as a non-conference game — Cornell’s offense was unable to pick up where it left off at the end of a record-breaking 2007, and the Red (2-2, 1-1 CSFL) fell to the Quakers (4-0, 2-0 CSFL), 17-3. Four weeks later, Cornell finds itself with a chance to win the game that really matters.
The last time Princeton’s sprint football team won a game was in the 14th annual alumni game earlier this year. Against alumni who came into the game with no practice and no workouts, but the benefit of not having to weigh in, the Tigers squeaked out a 20-17 victory.
[img_assist|nid=32598|title=On your toes|desc=Quarterback Zak Dentes (11) needs just six pass yards to move into second place in Red|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The last time the Tigers won a non-exhibition game was in 2005, and prior to that, they hadn’t won since 1999 – a 12-7 win over Cornell, also the last time Cornell lost to Princeton before beating them in 15 consecutive contests.
The Allegiance Bowl in Saratoga Springs, NY was host to the 64th meeting between Navy and Cornell this weekend. The last time Cornell played in the Allegiance Bowl, then-sophomore quarterback Zak Dentes was named the Allegiance Bowl MVP after leading Cornell to a 20-12 win over Penn. Despite another outstanding performance from this year’s senior captain, Cornell lost to the defending CSFL champions, 31-25.