MONMOUTH, Ill. – Cornell's women's basketball team punctuated a perfect pre-Christmas run with a 64-60 road win over 23rd-ranked Monmouth Saturday in a battle of Midwest Conference unbeatens in Glennie Gym.
The Rams (11-0 overall, 6-0 MWC) took over sole possession atop the MWC standings, now one-third of the way through the conference slate. Coach Brent Brase's squad heads into a two-week holiday break one game up on Monmouth (10-1, 6-1 MWC) and St. Norbert (8-1, 5-1 MWC).
Cornell extended its best start in school history on the strength of perimeter shooting against the Fighting Scots. The Rams drained a season-high 12 3-point goals on 28 attempts. None proved bigger than Kellie Kuzmanic's trey with less than a minute to go and the Rams leading by a point.
Kuzmanic got open on the wing and delivered her third 3-pointer of the game, putting the Rams ahead 64-60 with 52 seconds remaining. The freshman forward added two rebounds and a blocked shot in the closing moments as Cornell held on for the win. Monmouth missed its final four shot attempts.
The Rams hit eight 3-pointers in the opening half and earned a 32-28 lead at intermission. The teams went back and forth in a second half that saw 12 lead changes. Cornell built its largest lead at 38-30 on a Camille Marie bucket with 16:32 to go. A 3-pointer gave Monmouth its last lead at 58-57 with 2:51 remaining.
A Taylor Dicus basket put Cornell ahead to stay with 2:35 left. Rikki Mulloy followed up with a jumper that made it 61-58 with less than two minutes to go.
Mulloy fired in five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points to lead the Rams. She also had four assists and a pair of steals. Kuzmanic's fine all-around game included nine points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
Dicus ripped down 16 rebounds – seven offensive – to go with eight points. Kathryn Schilling pitched in 12 points. India Pearce had six points on a pair of 3-pointers off the bench. Marie finished with five points and nine rebounds.
The Rams held a 47-35 advantage on the boards. They limited the Fighting Scots to 29.4-percent shooting in the second half.
Coming up – Cornell returns from a lengthy layoff Jan. 5 to face Lake Forest (4-4, 2-3 MWC) at 3 p.m. in Lake Forest, Ill. The Rams play host to Grinnell (4-5, 3-2 MWC) on Jan. 9.