Cornell falls at home to hot-shooting Harvard, 73-58

ITHACA, N.Y . – The Crimson and Red are on divergent paths.

Cornell never led against Harvard Friday at Newman Arena, losing 73-58 after digging a hole too deep in the first half to drop its fourth straight game as Harvard notched a third straight win.

The Crimson (14-6, 5-2 Ivy) started off scorching the nets, leading 23-15 after the first quarter. They hit eight of 10 shots in the first 10 minutes, and first-year guard Lola Mullaney hit three of them, all from downtown.

“They switch a lot, and it created some mismatches,” said Cornell coach Dayna Smith. “We didn’t take care of the basketball on the perimeter against those mismatches … A couple of people early on were too focused on the Harvard players instead of what we needed to be doing.”

The Big Red (9-10, 2-5) scored just four points in the second quarter and trailed 38-19 at the half,

To open up the third quarter, Cornell went into a full-court press and opened on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to single digits.

“If we play with some passion or energy, it’s effective,” said Smith. “It got us back in the game and kept us close until right down the stretch.”

Cornell trailed by 14 going into the fourth quarter and never got any closer than 11 down. Harvard led by as many as 23 before the Big Red hit a few meaningless shots in the last two minutes to cut the final deficit to 15.

“We missed layups, we missed some easy shots,” said Smith. “We would only play 20 good seconds of defense once they broke the press, and they hit some big shots.”

The visitors had four players in double-figures, led by sophomore guard Tess Sussman with a career-high 20 points. Mullaney was the Crimson’s second-highest scorer with 15, and senior forward Jeannie Boehm and sophomore guard Maggie McCarthy posted 14 points and 11 points, respectively. Junior forward Rachel Levy was a point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 boards.

The Crimson shot the lights out, making 56% of their total shots. They were also 10-for-17 from downtown, and that a rebounding, helped them overcome a bad ball-handling night. They outrebounded Cornell 37-24 and committed 23 total turnovers. The Big Red turned the ball seven fewer times, but Harvard outscored Cornell in points off turnovers, 21-19.

Cornell was led by the senior duo of Samantha Widmann and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, who contributed 17 points and 13 points, respectively. Senior guard Danielle Jorgenson made her first start of the season, scoring eight points, dishing out five assists and nabbing four steals.

“Danielle did a nice job, coming in, playing some significant minutes, and her ball pressure really set the tone for us,” said Smith.

Senior guard Dylan Higgins added seven for the Big Red.

The Big Red will face Dartmouth on Saturday at home, while the Crimson will look to keep their win streak going at Levien Gym versus Columbia.