MOUNT VERNON — With only one crack at its chief rival this season, Cornell knew this one had to count.
Senior forward Camille Marie’s dominant performance with 15 points and 10 rebounds sparked the Rams past a cool-shooting Coe team Wednesday night, 63-32, at the Small Multi-Sports Center.
After sharing a conference with Coe since 1921, Cornell’s return to the Midwest Conference this season meant just one game for the rivals.
“We knew it would be tough, but we came out with a lot of energy and defensive effort is key for us,” said Marie, who prepped at Cedar Rapids Washington.
“We were focused,” Cornell Coach Brent Brase said. “I think we’re a physical team; we’re a tough team. I think they did a good job staying physical the entire 40 minutes.”
Cornell (4-0) used first-half runs of 12-0 and 9-2 to break free from the Kohawks and led 32-12 at the half. The Rams opened the second half with a 13-0 run that included six straight points by Marie.
The Rams’ stifling, aggressive defense limited Coe (2-3) to 10-of-61 shooting, and held reigning Iowa Conference MVP Kayla Waskow to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Coe lost its third straight game.
Cornell freshman Kellie Kuzmanic added a season-high 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench, and 6-2 sophomore Taylor Dicus pulled down eight rebounds.
Both teams are back in action Saturday. Cornell plays host to St. Norbert in its Midwest Conference debut, and Coe plays at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids.