November 17, 2000

Rookies Complement Backcourt Duo

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Warning: The Cornell women’s basketball team just got a whole lot deeper. The greatest depth can be found at the guard position, formerly the shallowest spot on the squad. Discussing last season’s guards involved three words: Bre, Do, and injuries.

In comparison, describing the 2000-2001 players could fill up an Orgo book. With an amazing recruiting class coming in, the Red added a number of key, direly-needed guards. The women are excited to focus on basketball, and shooting, play-making, hustle, rebounds, and blocking; not ACLs, sore backs, or twisted ankles.

Now meet the new freshmen, who plan to shake things up a bit, hopefully landing the Red at the top of the Ivy league.

Karen Force: This 5-8 guard has taken up a huge role on the team. Though only a freshman, she has turned herself into a leader.

“Karen Force has really taken on the role of the point guard becoming a leader on the court, if there is not a shot she always finds a way to drive it in, creating open shots, she’s just really calm and collected about what to do on the court and never seems to get riled up or intimidated by someone,” exclaimed sophomore Jenny Todd.

Force’s poise was developed during her four-year stint as a starter at Columbia East High School in Columbus, Indiana. She earned innumerable awards for both he athletic and academic excellence.

Patience and calm tenacity are Force’s highlights. “Karen Force, she’s very fast she has very good ball-handling abilities, a very good shot, very hard to guard because she’s just really unpredictable, which is good in our case,” added Todd.

Kate Varde: She has already made a quick impact, with her speed and agility picking up the pace for the Red.

“We have a very good point guard in Kate Varde whose coming off a knee injury, she’s recuperated very well, probably one of our faster people,” Todd mentioned.

This freshman hails from New Trier High School in Wilmette, Ill., where she played with current sophomore Katie Romey. Varde also was a four-year starter, leading her team to the regional title.

She adds versatility to the squad, with her speed and ball handling. “Our [new] guards are really looking to push the ball to the post a lot, we are getting a lot of open looks at key post and shots at the wings,” sophomore Lynell Davis commented. “Kate can play point and wing.”

Lauren Kilduff: This honorable mention All-American is ready to let her presence be known.

“We have a very, very good recruiting class, especially with Lauren and she has a very good shot. Lauren is also running track — she’s way too fast,” commented Todd.

After helping her high school to the state championship, Kilduff is excited to play at the collegiate level. Her speed and 5-10 height give her a strong base to work from.

Teammate junior Do Stevens noticed, “With Kilduff [and the other freshmen] it’s a lot of different combinations on the floor, its hard to learn people, what they are doing, their moves, how to gel with the really well. You need to learn how to work well with four people, or 11 other people, its hard with a such a big freshmen class, you have got to learn their game, because they are brand new people.”

With these new additions, the Big Red are set to take on the new season. The numbers the team has should minimize the impact of any injuries that may occur. One thing all these players have in common is where their eyes and hearts are looking towards: the Ivy Championship.