WBB: Cornell Bounced From NCAA Tournament By St. Thomas

By Douglas Miles and Scott Saville, Reporters


By Grant Burkhardt

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — A landmark season came to an abrupt end.

Sophomore Rikki Mulloy missed a three-pointer with three seconds left Saturday night and 12th-ranked Cornell lost to St. Thomas (Minn.), 53-52, in a second-round NCAA tournament game at the Small Multi-Sport Center.

Both teams entered on 10-game win streaks, but Cornell was harassed into 23 turnovers by an athletic, experienced St. Thomas squad in the NCAA tournament for the 21st time and won the third-place game last season.

“They were the more athletic team,” Cornell Coach Ben Brase said. “We were bigger, but they were more athletic.”

Cornell scored the first seven points, sparked by a 25-footer from Mulloy.

St. Thomas turned up the press and responded with an 11-2 run behind standout Kelly Brandenburg (15 points) to take a 19-15 lead. It was 25-25 at halftime.

The second half featured five ties and nine lead changes, but the Tommies gained some distance with five straight free throws to go up 47-42 with 8:20 left.

A Mulloy three-pointer with 5:08 to play made it 47-47, but Brandenburg took the lead right back with a jumper. Freshman Kellie Kuzmanic scored three of her 12 points to pull Cornell within one at 53-52 with about two minutes to go, but neither team scored the rest of the way.

Mulloy led all scorers with 16 points. Midwest Conference Player of the Year Camille Marie, who prepped at Cedar Rapids Washington, was held to eight. Taylor Dicus scored 10 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

“They were the most athletic team we faced all year, and if you looked at the stats, it said that,” senior Kathryn Schilling said.

The loss snapped a 17-game home winning streak for Cornell (25-2), but a first trip to the NCAA tournament is a considerable achievement for a team picked to finish eighth in preseason polls for the Midwest Conference.

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