Coming off a two-win weekend over Columbia, the Cornell women’s basketball team looks to keep the momentum going against Harvard and Dartmouth this coming weekend. The two wins over the Lions have Cornell perched atop the Ivy League standings alongside rival Yale.
“We had two great wins against Columbia,” said senior guard Maddie Campbell. “The first we fought back from being 17 points down at their place.”
The task begins on Friday night, when Cornell hosts the Harvard Crimson. Harvard has managed to remain third in the Ivy with a 1-1 record, but Harvard has historically been one of the best in the league. The Red has not won a game against their Cambridge rival in the last eighteen meetings. Last year, Cornell lost to Harvard twice, 61-57 and 60-54.
“We’re fired up from some great wins against Columbia and can’t wait to move forward, making the necessary adjustments and learning from our mistakes in those games to keep it rolling this weekend,” said sophomore forward Christine Ehland.
This year however, there are some new factors at play. Cornell has been greatly helped this season by two players in particular. Freshman Caroline Shelquist is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week and junior Megan LeDuc was named Ivy League Player of the Week on Jan. 18.
Shelquist notched a personal record of fifteen points in the second game against Columbia. She went 5-8 from behind the 3-point line, forcing the Lions to pressure her to the outside. She also put in work on the defensive end, recording two steals against the Lions.
In the first game LeDuc played the full 40 minutes, scoring a game-high 19 points and managing zero turnovers.
Despite Cornell’s incredible strength in the backcourt, the focus against Harvard will be on the post. Harvard’s Shilpa Tummala and AnnMarie Healy put up 16 and 19 points last week, respectively. Undoubtedly, Cornell’s post players, Nia Marshall and Nicholle Aston, will have their hands full.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming weekend and the opportunity to face new opponents,” Ehland said. “Both teams have some strong post presence and look to push the tempo through transition baskets – similar to many of the teams we faced in the non-conference.”
The second game of the weekend will be on Saturday against the Dartmouth Big Green, who are in an identical position as Harvard in the standings. The Big Green has a 6-12 overall record, but the Red is not going to take them lightly. Last year the two teams split the series, but team won their game in a blowout, with a final margin of 20 points both times.
Players to watch for the Big Green will be guard Katie Letkewiecz and forward Lakin Rowland. Letkewiecz put up an incredible 26 points against Harvard last week, and Rowland scored 18 alongside 11 boards.
“If we focus on the game plan and shut people down defensively, our offense usually comes easy to us. Campbell added. “So far we have shown we are going to keep fighting until the final buzzer goes off, even if we are down double digits.”