Despite dropping a pair of Ivy League contests last weekend and falling to 0-6 in conference play, the women’s basketball team can take solace in the comforts and familiarity of Newman Arena. Neither the Pizzitola Sports Center (Brown) nor the Lee Amphitheater (Yale) was a welcoming site for the Red, with both home teams handing Cornell double-digit defeats last weekend. But, after traveling to hostile environments for its last six games, the Red will return to its friendly confines for a four-game home stand beginning on Friday.
“The whole team is looking forward to playing at home, getting some rest in our own beds and having a whole week here,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “Hopefully, it is going to have a huge significance. The road trip takes a lot of wear and tear on you and it makes for a short week.”
The Red’s first match-up will come against Princeton and the tandem of junior forward Rebecca Brown and freshman guard Meagan Cowher. Brown and Cowher each stand amongst the top six in the league in scoring, with both players averaging upwards of 12 points per game. However, this has not translated into results, as the Tigers are only 1-4 in the league, with its lone victory coming over Yale by four points.
On Saturday, Cornell will host Penn, a squad led by guard Karen Habrukowich. The senior has led the team to a fourth place standing in the league behind her 11 points per game average. The Quakers have only fell twice to conference rivals all season, both of which came last weekend to Harvard and Dartmouth. However, those losses were by a combined five points, while Cornell did not fare as well against either opponent.
In order to come away with a victory against either squad, the Red will have to improve its performance on the offensive end. Cornell has been held below 50 points in two consecutive games and has not reached 60 points since December. Freshman Lindsay Krasna has climbed into a tie for eighth in the league in scoring at 12 points per game, but only one other Cornell player, sophomore Claire Perry, is averaging above ten points.
“We were a little disappointed with the outcome of the weekend,” Smith said. “We knew Brown was a tough team, but we came out and played a terrific first half. We only had six turnovers and we were only down by one at half. We challenged them on the defensive end. We had some really nice offensive plays. We rebounded the ball well and took care of the ball well. We just need to start making our shots.”
The following weekend the Red will remain at home to take its second shot at league leaders Harvard and Dartmouth. Cornell lost by a combined 60 points against the two squads earlier this season and a victory will be extremely hard to come by.
After the conclusion of the four-game home stand, Cornell will hit the road once again for two contests, before returning home to finish out its season in the first weekend of March. With six of its last eight remaining games to be played at Newman Arena, the Red will get as good an opportunity as any to put its first game in the win column against Ivy League competition.
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer