Nia Marshall and Cornell women's basketball will get a chance to move up in the Ivy rankings with a pair of in-conference games this weekend.

Hui Tong / Sun Staff Photographer

Nia Marshall and Cornell women's basketball will get a chance to move up in the Ivy rankings with a pair of in-conference games this weekend.

February 4, 2016

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Red Hosts Ivy Foes Over Weekend

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The women’s basketball team will head into two Ivy League games against Brown and Yale this weekend. The Red has played four Ivy League contests, currently holding an Ivy record of 3-1.

“I think we had a really gutsy win on Saturday night coming off our Harvard loss Friday night,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “When we are playing together and sharing the ball and playing team defense, we are getting a lot of good things accomplished.”

Brown and Yale have different styles of basketball compared to what the Red is used to playing against, according to Smith.

“I think Brown and Yale are very guard-oriented,” Smith said. “They have some terrific scorers on the perimeter. They play a different style of defense from each other and from us, so I think that that’s going to be a challenge. We are going to really have to take care of the basketball, rebound and play penetration defense.”

Yale plays an aggressive man-to-man defensive style. Smith said they like to deny and allow ball pressure. Brown, on the other hand, plays a matchup zone defense. Both of these defensive styles have been effective for the two teams. Because of this, these games will be different from the last four Ivy ones.

Senior Madeline Campbell said the Red will have to be tough and handle the Bulldogs’ pressure well. She also mentioned that Brown is coming out a terrific preseason with a lot of confidence, so the Red will have to shut them down early and try to get a lead as quick as possible.

“When we are balanced in our scoring we’ve been able to win some games and really do some nice things on offense,” Smith said.

Last season, the team split its matches against Yale and Brown, proving that they matched up very evenly.

“In the Ivy League, we take every team very seriously,” Campbell said. “We give every team respect because you never know who is going to be hot one night. We try to have the same mentality for each game that we’re going to have to give everything we have to beat them.”

Smith compared the current team to last year’s, which was much younger. This year she says they are playing very hard and scrappy basketball.

“We’ve developed more of a balanced scoring attack,” Smith said. “I like the balance, and when we don’t have that balance, we’ve lost some games this season. So we continue to strive to have that balanced play on offense.”

Campbell spoke of the two freshmen shooters, Samantha Clement and Caroline Shelquist, who have added a crucial piece to the team. On the team as a whole, she said, “We have a lot of pieces that really fit together, and I think that’s why we’ve been successful.”

Smith said the team’s main goal is getting better and more consistent every day. It’s a simple strategy, one that does not involve a complex formula.

“We don’t want to make too many adjustments with having to change who we want to be,” Smith said. “We want to play team basketball. We want to outwork our opponents.”

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