The women’s basketball team will kick off the 2012-13 season this Friday when the squad travels to Hamilton, New York to battle the Colgate Raiders.
Preseason polls suggest that Colgate and Cornell will be at the bottom of their respective conferences. The Raiders are slated to finish seventh of eight in the Patriot league while the Red is predicted to finish sixth of eight in the Ivy League.
Cornell head coach Dayna Smith, however, is critical of the preseason polling process.
“We’re not really much into polls,” she said. “The people who vote don’t really know much about the league.”
Smith claims that after doubling its win total from the 2010-2011 season and returning four starters who combined for over 30 points per game last year, the team is a force to be reckoned with in the Ivy League.
Cornell has won five of its last six matchups against Colgate and is currently 17-15 since its first game against the Raiders in 1978. This season, Colgate is led by Jhazmine Lynch, the 2009-10 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, as well as three sophomores — Mariah Jones, Missy Repoli, and Kelly Reid.
“[They] match up pretty evenly [with us] as far as height and athleticism,” Smith said. “[They are] a tough, scrappy team.”
Cornell’s roster this season includes two Ivy League Honorable Mentions in senior forward Clare Fitzpatrick and junior guard Allyson DiMagno. Fitzpatrick and DiMagno combined for over 20 points per game last year, and DiMagno led the team in rebounds per game with 7.3.
The Red trains year round, conditioning throughout the summer in order to prepare the players both mentally and physically. Official practice began October 1 and the squad played two home scrimmages to ready itself for the season.
“[The scrimmages] were good for us,” Smith said. “We were able to see different players in different positions.With three freshmen on the roster this season, the scrimmages were also a good opportunity to see what the underclassmen have to offer.“[The] young players got some significant minutes and we worked on new things on the offensive and defensive ends,” Smith said.Although the game on Friday will mark the Red’s first road trip this season, Smith is pleased by the close proximity between the schools. “[It’s a] day trip and it’s a nice short drive,” she said. “We’re just excited to be able to get started.”Beyond a win in the first game, Smith’s goal for the season is to be in a competitive position for the Ivy League championship when March rolls around. She looks to the Red’s non-conference schedule to help prepare the team to be in that position.“We want to play teams that run. We want to play teams that walk the ball up the court. We want to play teams that are taller and faster. We want to play teams that play zone and press,” she said. “Most importantly, we want to get better every day.”
Original Author: Skyler Dale