CEDAR RAPIDS – A strong defensive effort propelled the Rams to a convincing 68-44 nonconference victory over the rival Coe Kohawks in women's basketball action Tuesday night at Eby Fieldhouse.
Cornell (3-1) charged out to a 38-21 halftime lead and stretched the margin to 30 points in the second half to collect its first win over the Kohawks in Cedar Rapids since Jan. 23, 2007. The Rams gained one point in the 2013-14 Bremner Cup All-Sport Series, which Coe now leads 5-4.
The Rams, who are receiving votes in both national polls, stepped up on the defensive end after allowing 79 points in Friday's road loss to Illinois Wesleyan. Cornell limited Coe (1-3) to five first-half field goals and 29.2-percent shooting for the game.
Sophomore Kellie Kuzmanic paced a balanced Ram attack with 12 points, while Rikki Mulloy and Chelsea Harris each netted 10. India Pearce came off the bench to total eight points, four rebounds and four assists.
Taylor Dicus grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. She and Caitlin Bisinger pitched in seven points apiece. Kuzmanic and Maggie Hogen added six and five rebounds, respectively. Bisinger and Harris each had three steals.
The Rams drained nine three-point goals, two apiece from Kuzmanic, Mulloy, Harris and Pearce. Cornell owned a 44-33 advantage on the boards.
After Coe took an early 7-2 lead, the Rams scored 16 unanswered points as part of a game-breaking 31-10 run over the next 12 minutes. Cornell used a 15-0 blitz in the second half to build its biggest lead at 57-27 with 10:38 remaining.
Cornell recorded its second straight lopsided win over the Kohawks, projected second in the Iowa Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Rams rolled 63-32 in last year's meeting in Mount Vernon, which snapped a six-game series win streak by Coe.
Coming up – Cornell begins its Midwest Conference title defense against Knox (1-2) on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Galesburg, Ill. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.