Penn women split weekend, fall to Cornell
Inconsistency plagued the Quakers against the Big Red
January 30, 2012, 12:00 am·
After a much-need win over Columbia on Friday night, fueled by senior captain Jess Knapp’s emotional return, the Penn’s women’s basketball team was unable to find its magic again Sunday.
Hosting Cornell in a matinee at the Palestra, the Quakers led early but fell behind late in the first half. They were never able to fully recover, and the Big Red coasted to a 67-53 victory.
Penn (8-9, 1-2 Ivy), which often relies on its dearth of freshmen talent, saw Sunday the drawbacks such inexperience can cause.
“These are a bunch of kids going through the Ivy schedule for the first time,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “But we can’t just let them learn on the fly — we [need] to speed them along.”
While the Quakers have been either consistently good or consistently bad in general this season, they played erratically in-game Sunday afternoon against Cornell (8-9, 2-1).
“Consistency overall is the major issue.” McLaughlin said. “We would start scoring the ball the way we know we can, we just couldn’t demand a stop.”
In stark contrast to Friday’s game, the Quakers had just two players in double figures — sophomore Alyssa Baron, who tallied 24 points, and freshman Jackie Kates, who scored 10.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t carry the momentum over,” McLaughlin said. “It would have been huge if we got both wins because we’re struggling.”
Penn led by five with 9:32 left in the first half but ended the period poorly, as the Big Red went into the break leading by seven.
“Whoever controls the tempo usually has the best chance of winning, and they simply controlled the tempo,” McLaughlin said. “We could just never gain control.”
Kates, whose play heavily affects the tempo of the game, struggled in her second game as the starting point guard. She shot 0-for-6 from three in the first half and just 2-for-10 overall.
“I think she [Kates] did a really good job Friday night, and a good job [today],” McLaughlin said. “She just dribbled a little too much against the zone in the second half.”
Although Knapp was statistically better — four rebounds, no points and three fouls in 12 minutes — it seemed that her presence did not have the same effect it did on Friday.
“I think it’s going to take a while. She’s going to find other ways to have success,” McLaughlin said. “The explosion is just not there right now, but hopefully we’ll get further along with that.”
Baron had an efficient 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from the foul line. She also grabbed a team high six rebounds.
It just wasn’t enough.
“We weren’t there on the defensive end, and they just took advantage of it.” Baron said. “Usually the momentum takes you from defense to offense, and it just wasn’t there today.”
The Quakers were outrebounded, out-assisted, and outscored in the paint. They shot 27 three-pointers and converted just six of them. They shot only 35 percent from the field, compared to Cornell’s 57 percent.
Each time the Quakers threatened to make a comeback, their attempt was stifled by a blown defensive assignment, an untimely foul or simply a timely shot by the Big Red.
“Everyone was happy about Friday’s game, but we just have to move on.” Baron said. “We have to learn how to win back-to-back Ivy League games.”
The weekend was up and down, much like the Quakers season thus far. While they snapped their losing streak, they relapsed against a team who was virtually identical to them.
The team must wait until Friday to turn it around, when it will take on Yale at the Palestra.