Basketball defeats Hiram 70–53, falls to New York and Brandeis
November and December yielded mixed results for the Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team, with wins against La Roche College, Grove City College, and Hiram College, but losses to Hanover College, Capital University, and top 15 teams like University Athletic Association (UAA) competitors New York University and Brandeis University. With a busy schedule over winter break, the Tartans' record is 4–9 overall, after a solid defeat over the visiting Hiram.
In mid-December, the Tartans traveled to La Roche where they picked up a decisive win, 55–51. Senior Rachelle Roll and first-year Jacki Cortese led the team with 13 and 10 points, respectively. With little over a minute remaining in the game and a narrow Tartan 53–51 lead, senior Stacie Aleski secured the win with a two-point shot in the last few seconds, which brought the overall season record to 2–5.
Despite the exciting win, the following tournament at the Eleanore Moyer Classic held in Hanover, Ind. did not give the Tartans good results, with an initial loss to host Hanover 72–63 and a disappointing second-round defeat to Capital 70–44. Against Hanover, Cortese stood out with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while first-year Ali Aunkst contributed 11 points. Capital proved to be a tougher opponent, and the Tartans found themselves behind in points throughout most of the second half, but Roll stood out with 13 points for the Tartan side. Carnegie Mellon ended the Classic with a 2–7 overall record.
The following week gave the Tartans a chance for redemption when they played their last game of 2008 in Skibo Gymnasium, recording a 53–48 win over Grove City. The Tartans started out strong, leading for most of the first half until the Wolverines caught up and tied the game at 22. In the second half, the Tartans constantly fought off a Wolverine lead, and with 2:51 left on the clock, Carnegie Mellon temporarily fell behind 45–48. The team finished off the game by scoring eight points to mark another win, bringing them to a 3–7 record. Cortese, proving to be a top scorer for the Tartans, once again led the team with a game high 13 points, followed by Aleski and first-year Jennifer Larsen with 10 points each.
When asked about her individual and team performance, Cortese noted, "Well, most of points come from awesome passes from my teammates, but before games I just try to warm-up like I would play in the game and just have fun. I feel like the team has made a lot of progress over the past two months and we've definitely started to mesh well together. I think that we're going to continue progressing and getting some wins along the way."
The Tartans faced tougher competition in the next few games and fell short of securing any wins against 13th-ranked New York and 5th-ranked Brandeis, 55–42 and 65–44, respectively. In New York, the Violets maintained a definite lead over the Tartans for the entire game. Senior Colleen Light contributed 11 points for the Tartans, while Cortese contributed 10. Against higher-ranked Brandeis in Waltham, Mass., the Judges’ offense proved lethal, with a score of 39–22 at the end of the first half. The Judges maintained the lead till the end. Senior guard Corey Innes scored 12 points while Cortese and Roll added 10 each.
Finally, just last week in Skibo Gymansium, the Tartans defeated Hiram 70–53. Cortese led the team with 20 points, while Roll nabbed 20 rebounds and 12 points, and Innes also gave 12 points. Also putting in an outstanding performance was sophomore Jessica Buranovsky, with five rebounds and five assists. The Tartans dominated, in points, the entire game and brought their record to 4–9.
The Tartans will play tonight against Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio with game time set for 7 p.m.