Cornell bests Niagara wire to wire, 82-59

ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell never trailed on Thursday as they took down the Niagara Purple Eagles 82-59, ending a three-game homestand and winning their second game in a row.

The Big Red took a 20-13 lead after the first quarter and led 43-32 at halftime. They limited the Purple Eagles to just nine in the third quarter and led 63-41 with 10 minutes remaining.

The Purple Eagles did get off to a quick 8-0 run to begin the quarter, but the Big Red quickly regained control and won the game with ease.

Five players were in double-figures for the Big Red, led by Laura Bagwell-Katalinich with 22 points. It was a nice bounceback game for her after scoring just four on Saturday against NJIT.

“The two things we did best was run in transition, which is something we always try to do and we showcased it well today. I think secondly we were just unselfish. There were a few people with three, four, five assists and because of that we had five people in double-digits” Bagwell-Katalinich said.

The Big Red dished 22 total assists on the night.

Samantha Widmann added 17 points for Cornell, also hauling in eight boards.

“Our two captains, I’ve been on them this week to kinda step up and take the pressure off the rest of the team and I think both Laura [Bagwell-Katalinich] and Sam Widmann responded to that,” coach Dayna Smith said.

Shannon Mulroy had a solid 14-point effort, connecting on four of her five threes.

“Shannon Mulroy played an unbelievable game tonight as a freshman,” Smith said.

The Big Red are very high on Mulroy, and she has looked really good in the early portion of the season.

Kate Sramac and Theresa Grace Mbanefo each had 10 points for the Big Red.

Cornell controlled the boards (45-30) and shot 50% on the night, helping it overcome 23 turnovers. The Big Red hit six threes and made 18 of their 27 free throw attempts.

“We talk about stacking wins. We need to win back-to-back games in the Ivy League to have a chance to compete for championships. So this was a good opportunity to get our first back-to-back win,” Smith said.

The Big Red now go on the road to face Delaware State on Saturday and UMass Lowell on Wednesday.

“We need to take care of the basketball,” Smith said. “We had way too many turnovers (tonight). It’s good that we can get a win in that fashion with that many turnovers, but when we face Delaware State, they’re gonna pressure us.”

“[We’re] excited to take on Delaware State. They’re definitely a different team from last year. They are a year older, more balanced then they were,” Bagwell-Katalinich said. “But we pride ourself on being tough, being gritty, having a strong defense, so for both games, UMass Lowell and Delaware State, we want to walk into their house and get some wins.”

The Big Red take on Delaware State on Saturday at 2pm from Dover. They’ll play UMass Lowell on Wednesday at 2pm on ESPN+ from Lowell.

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