Women's basketball defeats Cornell, 66-41

Eastern Michigan University guard Sydney Huntley (right) looks to teammates Cassie Schrock (22) and Tavelyn James (24) for support during their home game versus Cornell University on Friday. The Eagles won 66-41.

The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team defeated visiting Cornell University 66-41 in its day-after-Thanksgiving contest.

After scoring just four points in the first half, junior forward Paige Redditt finished as top scorer for Eastern with 16 points and five rebounds.

Following behind Redditt were senior guard Sydney Huntley-Rodgers and junior guard Tavelyn James with 12 points apiece. Senior guard Cassie Schrock had eight points and nine assists. Senior forward Kristin Thomas and freshman forward Olivia Fouty led the Eagles defensively with six rebounds each.

Cornell (1-4) was led by sophomore forward Clare Fitzpatrick with 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman guard Allyson DiMagno came off the bench to get a game-high 10 rebounds for the Big Red.

Huntley-Rodgers made a three-pointer for the opening basket of the game. Three minutes later a three-pointer by James gave Eastern (4-2) an 11-0 edge.

In a slow first half the teams combined for 24 turnovers and 15 fouls. Eastern accounted for eight of those turnovers and seven fouls.

However, James said, “Our defense in the first half,” is what kept the Eagles alive. Eastern recorded eight steals, had 18 rebounds, and forced 16 turnovers in the opening half.

Another three-pointer by Huntley-Rodgers and a free throw by freshman guard Natachia Watkins gave EMU its largest lead of the first half. The Eagles went up 28-11 with 5:15 left in the half.

“I was very pleased with her performance tonight,” coach AnnMarie Gilbert said.

“I was a little frustrated in the first half, but I concentrated on finishing whether I got the call or not,” Redditt said. The Eagles continued to dominate in the second half, leading by as many as 27. Both teams got off to a slow start. A three-pointer by Huntley-Rodgers with four minutes into the second half ended Eastern’s scoreless run.

Cornell scored five unanswered points, cutting its deficit to 54-39 with 3:56 left to play. However, Redditt responded with two consecutive three-point plays, both coming on layups and fouls, expanding the Eagles’ lead to 20.

“Our press was good today, and we were very active.” Huntley-Rodgers said. “Pushing the ball in transition is what won the game for the Eagles.”

The Eagles and Big Red finished with 38 rebounds apiece. However, the Eagles ended with a .411 field-goal percentage while holding Cornell to a .283 percentage. Eastern blocked six shots, Thomas and Redditt blocking three each. The Eagles also had 15 steals, with Huntley-Rodgers accounting for five.

Eastern will suit up next for a two-game trip beginning in Kansas City, Mo. It will take on the Kansas City University of Missouri Kangaroos. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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