MOUNT VERNON – Cornell's women's basketball team strengthened its hold on first place in the Midwest Conference with a convincing 71-53 victory over MWC challenger Monmouth Tuesday night in the Small Multi-Sport Center.
The Rams (15-0 overall, 10-0 MWC), ranked No. 17 by USA Today Sports and No. 19 by D3hoops.com, played out in front for the final 35 minutes and used sharp foul shooting down the stretch to complete a regular-season sweep of Monmouth (12-3, 7-3 MWC), which received national votes in both polls this week.
Cornell improved to 9-0 at home with an average victory margin of 20.6 points in such contests. Coach Brent Brase's Rams became just the third team in program history to notch 15 wins in a season, and the first since the 18-8 squad in 1999-00.
The Rams will put their spotless record on the line Saturday in a key conference game at St. Norbert (11-4, 8-2 MWC), which is now Cornell's closest pursuer two games back. Tipoff is 3 p.m. in De Pere, Wis. Cornell beat the Green Knights, 63-42, at home in the MWC opener Dec. 1.
Senior post Camille Marie led Tuesday's effort with 12 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in recording her second double-double of the season. Sophomore Rikki Mulloy tossed in a game-high 19 points with five 3-point goals. Kathryn Schilling and Taylor Dicus rounded out a balanced attack with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Rams connected on 26-of-29 free throws, while draining all 13 attempts in the second half. Cornell was its dominant self on the boards, holding a 47-34 rebound advantage.
Cornell took a 33-21 lead into intermission while limiting the Fighting Scots to 22.6 percent shooting (7-of-31). The Rams played with a double-digit lead for virtually the entire second half. Monmouth never got closer than nine points.
Monmouth entered the contest ranked 12th in Division III in field goal percentage at 44.1. The Rams held the Fighting Scots to just 30.8 percent (20-of-65) shooting on the night.
Freshman Kellie Kuzmanic dished out a game-high seven assists to go with seven points and seven rebounds. Dicus finished with seven rebounds, five on the offensive end. Maggie Hogen also had seven rebounds coming off the bench. Schilling tallied four steals and went 6-of-6 from the foul line.