Bulldogs drop two in double-digits

After a glimmer of Ivy League success last weekend against Penn, the women’s basketball team experienced something far more familiar this weekend: consecutive losses.

Despite a solid all-around effort and persistent play, the Elis (2-19, 1-7 Ivy) registered double-digit losses in both contests, losing 51-41 to Columbia (5-16, 1-7) on Friday and 79-68 to Cornell (7-14, 4-4) on Saturday. Outstanding individual performances from both opponents proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome, and the team lost any momentum they had gained from last Saturday’s come-from-behind victory over the Quakers (3-17, 1-6).

The Elis started the weekend off strong, jumping out to an early 11-2 lead against the Lions. They sustained their fine play for much of the first half, and at one point led by as many as 10. But late in the half, Columbia showed it would not back down easily, and the pesky Lions had cut the lead down to 31-24 by the break.

In the second half, it seemed that Columbia was determined to remedy its status as the only team without an Ivy League win. The Elis, whose inability to prevent opponents from going on large runs has hurt them all season, were all too able to help the Lions on their way.

Columbia struck quickly to start the second stanza, going on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 31-31. The teams exchanged buckets until late in the game, when the Lions put the game out of reach with another prolonged run. Yale could not repeat its comeback success of last weekend, and eventually fell by 10, despite 15 points and 11 rebounds from center Erica Davis ’07.

Cornell picked up where its New York rival left off the night before. The Big Red capitalized on their numerous trips to the foul line, hitting 14 of 15 from the stripe in the first half. Cornell’s sharp shooting allowed them to enter the locker room with a 37-27 halftime advantage.

Strong play from freshman standout Jeomi Maduka and sophomore guard Lindsay Krasna boosted the Big Red lead to 20 early in the second half. The potent duo combined for 54 of the team’s 79 points, and Maduka notched a new career high with 29.

But the Bulldogs refused to lie down. Captain Chinenye Okafor ’07 recorded yet another double-double with a season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs scored more points off turnovers and second-chance points than Cornell, both categories that have been frustratingly troublesome for the team this year. But the Big Red overcame those deficiencies to avoid losing to the Elis for the fourth straight time.

“I’m glad that we at least gave ourselves a chance at winning these games,” guard Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09 said. “Limiting turnovers and rebounding well were huge.”

Team members said they do not have to change their game much to be successful in the future.

“We just need to do our business on the defensive end of the floor and really concentrate on not turning the ball over,” guard Kaitlin Emmerling ’08 said. “The wins will come if we can do that.”

The Bulldogs will have an opportunity to redeem themselves in two weeks, when they play the New Yorkers at John J. Lee Amphitheater to cap their home season. Team members said they are excited about the prospect of playing four consecutive home games after traveling a great deal this season.

“Home-court advantage is a pretty big factor in any game,” center Sarah Zoubek ’08 said. “We’re definitely looking forward to having some crowd support.”

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