February 22, 2012

W. BASKETBALL | Squad Back at Newman To Battle Yale, Brown

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After a weekend in which women’s basketball saw mixed results against Ivy opponents Penn and Princeton, the team plays host to the Yale Bulldogs and Brown Bears, two teams that have already defeated the Red in previous outings this season.  In addition, the Red can rise above .500 in Ivy League play, a feat that has not been achieved this late in the season since the 2007-08 campaign, the year that the Red won the Ivy League championship and went on to play UConn in the first round of the NCAA tournament. With a team that only features two seniors, the Red has already surpassed last season’s win total, and is looking to improve as a squad each day.

“We are really excited about this weekend,” said junior forward Claire Fitzpatrick.“The last time we played against both Brown (15-9, 6-4 Ivy League) and Yale (15-9, 7-3), we just did not give our best effort.  In addition to that, we also feel we have improved greatly as a team.  Because of this, we plan to give both teams a better game than we did the first time.”

On Friday, the Red (10-13, 4-5) will face a talented Brown team that had gone on a 20-9 run to close out the Red in the final four minutes in the teams’ previous matchup.  After squandering a six point lead at halftime, the Red came out lethargically in the second half, as the Bears capitalized on numerous turnovers and poor rebounding by the Red.  However, according to Fitzpatrick, the Red has made legitimate improvements in fundamentals and defense since, and looks to give Brown a much better game than it did before.

“Brown is a really good team.  However, we know that if we can control the boards against them, we can be competitive,” she said. “In our previous matchup we were sloppy and failed to execute on numerous opportunities.  We know now that we need to be able to do the little things in order to compete.”

Like the first game against the Bears, the Red did not play to its potential when it traveled to Yale on Feb. 10.  The team came out with a lack of energy that the Bulldogs capitalized on, hitting 10 3-pointers in the first half.  Although the Red received a strong effort from junior guard Spencer Lane, who scored a career high 18 points, it seemed as though every attempt the Red made to get back in the game was thwarted by the Bulldogs.  The closest that the Red came to the home team was 12, as Yale won the game, 86-73.

“Yale took it to us last time,” said freshman forward Sarah Poland.  “We hope to play fundamental basketball against them and get a win in our own house.”

Finally, although the season has seen both positive and negative shifts in momentum, the Red looks to finish strong with only five games left.

“We just have not been playing our best basketball lately,” Poland said. “We really believe that if we just play Cornell basketball, we can win the last five games of our season.”

Original Author: Nicholas Rielly

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