Yale overcomes 16-point second-half deficit to push past Cornell, 74-67

ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell Big Red led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but Yale stormed back to avenge last season’s Big Red sweep of the Bulldogs and remain undefeated in Ivy League play, escaping Newman Arena Saturday with a 74-67 win.

“A really disappointing second half,” Cornell coach Dayna Smith said. “Their top two leading scorers stepped up when they needed to.”

Those two would be Roxy Barahman and Camilla Emsbo. Each ended the first half with six points but finished with 26 points and 24 points, respectively.

“[Barahman] just put the team on her shoulders,” said Smith. “She’s a talented basketball player. First half I thought she was trying to create, second half she knew she needed to score, they literally ran plays for her and Emsbo. We tried some different things, [but] unfortunately we didn’t execute that.”

The Big Red (9-7, 2-2 Ivy) got off to a good start in the first quarter, leading 15-11 after hitting seven of their seven shot attempts. Cornell scored 25 points in the second quarter to take a 40-26 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs (14-3, 4-0) came roaring back. With the exception of a Tori Andrew three, Barahman and Emsbo scored all of Yale’s 28 third-quarter points to knot the game up at 54.

It took 3:28 for a player to score in the fourth quarter, and it was Cornell’s Kate Sramac that knocked the lid off with a short jumper. Emsbo responded. From there, Barahman scored the next five to give the Bulldogs a 61-56 lead.

Cornell’s Samantha Widmann scored the next nine for the Big Red, who cut the Yale lead to two with 70 seconds left. But Barahman made three of four free throws down the stretch and Andrew hit one as well to seal the seven-point, come-from-behind victory.

“We stopped scoring, and they started scoring,” Smith said.

Leading the Big Red was Widmann, who had 20 points. Kate Sramac continued her solid play with 14 points, and Shannon Mulroy added 10. Laura Bagwell-Katalinich was quiet again, with four points and as many fouls.

“We’re going to have to play better defense,” Smith said. “We have to understand what got us that lead in the first half, the focus and intensity of a game has to carry over for 40 minutes.”

The Big Red travel to Princeton and Penn this weekend, while the Bulldogs travel to Harvard and Dartmouth.