Cornell women prepare for Ivy League slate

For Dayna Smith’s Cornell squad, the start of the 2021-22 season has by no means been easy. In addition to a challenging nonconference slate, the team with just six returners from two seasons ago has battled injuries, illness and COVID-19 protocols through the first seven weeks of the new campaign.

“There’s been zero pouting, zero anger [and] lack of focus,” Smith said. “We’ve practiced with six people, we’ve practiced with seven people … The people we have with us are giving us everything they have.”

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Shannon Mulroy’s buzzer-beater gives Cornell women gritty win over Albany

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell junior guard Shannon Mulroy sunk a deep three-pointer over multiple defenders at the buzzer  downing the Albany Great Danes, 47-46, Wednesday for Cornell’s third victory of the season.

 

“So happy for them,” coach Dayna Smith said. “It wasn’t our best performance on the offensive end … I love the grit that they showed.”

Albany (1-2) opened the game on an 11-0 run, but Cornell (3-3) responded with an 11-0 run of its own sparked by senior forward Theresa Grace Mbanefo more than four minutes into the game. Mbanefo scored 12 points off 6-for-15 shooting with nine rebounds.

“Getting those inside shots when they collapses on us, looking for kick-outs, is really important,” Mbanefo said. “I really focus on that, making my bunnies, and hopefully I can continue to do that.”

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Cornell women’s basketball faces uphill climb in 2021-22

The 2021-22 Ivy League women’s basketball season will be tough for all members of the Ancient Eight to navigate coming off a season that wasn’t due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But you could argue that Dayna Smith’s Cornell squad faces an even greater challenge than its conference foes.

“We are extremely young,” Smith said on Ivy League Women’s Basketball Media Day. “There are going to be quite a few growing pains. We’ve lost over 75-80% of our scoring, our rebounding [and] our defensive playmaking. We’re in a situation where every single person is in a different role.

“This is probably the first year that I’ve felt like it’s a brand new season since my first year here. It’s all new.”

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What to expect when Ivy League basketball returns

As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:

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Cornell women can’t handle Penn defense in 67-46 loss

ITHACA – The Penn defense was too much to handle for Cornell women’s basketball Friday night at Newman Arena.

The Big Red fell, 67-46, to the Quakers, their ninth loss in the last 10 games.

“They denied passing lanes, our ballhandlers, our guards [and] our perimeter play was really hesitant and passive,” said Cornell coach Dayna Smith. “They put the press on because they were scoring. That really negated a lot of things.”

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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.

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Cornell women’s defense powers them to win over Brown

Cornell used a gritty defensive effort to take down Brown at Newman Arena Friday, 74-63.

“We grinded out the win,” said coach Dayna Smith. “We found a way to make key baskets at key times and get some big stops.”

The Big Red (9-6, 2-1 Ivy) took the lead just 98 seconds into the game and held onto it for good. They held a 38-31 halftime lead over the Bears (6-10, 0-3) behind 23 first-stanza points from senior Samantha Widmann, who was honored before the game for surpassing 1,000 career points against Columbia last time out.

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Shannon Mulroy leads Cornell to overtime victory against Columbia

ITHACA, N.Y. – Freshman Shannon Mulroy scored a career-high 27 points off of seven threes as the Big Red prevailed past the Columbia Lions at Newman Arena in overtime, 80-77, avenging their 10-point loss to Columbia last weekend.

“We were just working the ball around and whoever was open was gonna shoot it, and I just happened to be open,” said Mulroy. “Whoever’s open would knock them down.”

“We took care of the ball,” said Big Red coach Dayna Smith. “We mixed up our defenses a little more; we kept people in front of us and didn’t allow as much penetration.”

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Columbia women use fourth-quarter firepower to defeat Cornell, 76-66

Columbia’s three-point shooting was as cold as the snow-filled campus over the game’s first 35 minutes, but a late surge from downtown lifted the Lions to a 76-66 victory in the conference opener against Cornell.

The Light Blue (10-4, 1-0 Ivy) tried to deny the inside early against the Big Red, one of the nation’s top rebounding and two-point shooting teams.  Cornell (7-6, 0-1 Ivy) foiled that plan by taking a 10-7 lead on the boards and hitting three of six shots from beyond the arc.  Thanks to a strong 47% shooting effort, Columbia was able to finish the first 10 minutes with the score tied at 20.

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