Women’s basketball starts home schedule with two wins

Doug Hendry, Sports Editor

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In its home opener, the women’s basketball team stifled the Cornell offense on its way to a 59-51 victory on Nov. 29, its third consecutive win over the Big Red. As the calendar turned to December, a second-half surge at home backed by a barrage of three-pointers guided the Bison past Morgan State 79-50 on Dec. 3.

Cornell was held to its second-lowest offensive output of the season when it visited the Orange and Blue, and Megan McGurk ’17 led the defensive shutdown as she had a game-high three steals. Offensively, she also tallied nine points on 4-6 shooting and led all Bison with four assists.

“Our team did a good job at taking away the strengths of each of the Cornell players, whether it was containing them on their drives or getting a hand up to prevent the shooters from getting their shots up,” McGurk said. “Our team really adjusted well when Coach [Aaron] Roussell decided to switch to a zone defense in the second half. This limited Cornell’s inside game.”

Never trailing in the game, Claire DeBoer ’17 tied a career-high with 15 rebounds, while her 15 points, including a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line, led all players and gave her the seventh double-double of her career. Audrey Dotson ’15 added 10 points and three assists in 30 minutes of action. 

After Cornell jumped back into the game and trailed the Orange and Blue 32-31 in the second half, a 16-2 run stretched the lead for the Bison and put the game out of reach. DeBoer and Tyler Craig ’16 both scored five points during this crucial run.

“We tried to keep them from getting opportunities to make rhythm threes and forced them to work for shots,” said Jacquie Klotz ’18, who sunk a three-pointer in her collegiate debut. “We had a few stretches with some big rebounds, and not letting them have the second shot opportunities makes a difference.”

The Big Red was held to a dismal 28.3 percent from the field, while the Bison shot 46.8 percent for the game, including 66.7 percent in the second half as they ran away with the lead. The Bison outmatched Cornell in the paint with a 30-18 point advantage, and 10 total players scored in the game for the squad.

On Dec. 3, Claire Maree O’Bryan ’16 caught fire, and her success from long range in the second half gave the squad a large cushion in its 29-point victory. O’Bryan tallied 20 points in her 24 minutes of action, including 4-6 from beyond the arc.

Both teams started off slowly as the fouls racked up but the score stayed low. However, the Bison fought back from an early 10-4 deficit to enter halftime with the 36-34 lead.

An injury late in the first half to Morgan State’s leading scorer seemed to doom the Bears, as the Orange and Blue could not be stopped in an offensive explosion in the second half. The squad found the bottom of the net at a high rate, as their 43 points were the most in a half this season. On the defensive side, Morgan State was held to just 16 points in the second half.

“With much experience in close games, our team has put a big emphasis on the first four minutes of the second half. We like to come out refueled and with a sense of urgency,” McGurk said.

DeBoer added 14 points with 12 rebounds while Dotson added six assists, eight rebounds, and 10 points. Six different players played in at least 19 minutes throughout the game, while the squad as a whole made eight three-pointers and 25 free throws.

The Orange and Blue (4-2) will head to face Delaware on Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. before returning back to Sojka Pavilion for a game against UMBC on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. 

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