January 26, 2001

Women's Hoops Travels to Columbia

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Tomorrow, you might find a typical Cornell student sleeping late, watching TV, and denying the onset of classes. But for a typical member of the women’s basketball team, tomorrow will not be so laid back.

This weekend the Red will travel to the bays of New York City to face Columbia in a rematch that the Lions will attend with freshly sharpened claws. Last Saturday, Cornell narrowly defeated the big cats 56-53.

“We didn’t shoot too well from the floor in that game,” head coach Marnie Dacko stated. “We shot 30-percent, and that is not our average. We gave up 21 offensive boards, and it is hard to win games like that.”

Two weekends ago, the women kicked off the start of Ivy competition with games against former league heavyweight Princeton and pre-season favorite Penn. Cornell (9-7, 2-1 Ivy) handily defeated the lowly Tigers (0-14, 0-2 Ivy) 77-61, but was unable to convert against the Quakers (10-5, 2-0 Ivy). The 69-66 heartbreaker for the Red is nothing new to the team. Four of its 16 games have been decided by three or fewer points.

In tomorrow’s contest, Cornell will no doubt face a vengeful squad. The Lions will be led by junior forward Shawnee Pickney, who is 34 points short breaking the 1,000 career points mark. When she does, she will be only the seventh Columbia woman to accomplish such a feat. She turned in a game-high 20 point performance against the Red, 16 coming in the first half.

Sophomore Katie Day will be next to Pickney on the court, and she brings similar talent. Her 16 rebound, 11 point show against the Red was the first double-double of her career. She kept Columbia in the game by hitting a jumper with under a minute left to keep the score within two.

“I think [Columbia] is going to come out ready. It played Lehigh last night to one point, so that has to be a moral booster for them,” Dacko mentioned. “With seconds left, they made a lay-up to win the game, and they had 23 offensive rebounds.

“Our team is aware of that and they know the job they have to do. It’s got to be a team effort, and they have to be all over the floor going after the ball.”

Cornell is well equipped for tomorrow’s action and the road ahead. Freshman forward Tanya Karcic was honored as Ivy Rookie of the Week for her play against Albany and Columbia last weekend. Karcic landed eight-straight points against the Great Danes to pull Cornell out of an early hole for good.

In her first start of the season, she sunk a pretty shot with seconds remaining to nail the lid on Columbia’s coffin.

Senior Forward Jennifer Linker has proved her worth through the entire season. In last Friday’s victory over the Danes, Linker was 5-for-5 from the free throw line and contributed 11 points, a pair coming with just under a minute left to shut down Albany. The next night, she put up similar numbers, going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe and tallying 12 points. Moreover, Linker needs to block only 10 more shots to tie the Cornell record of 106.

The Red has also seen consistent play from junior guard Deborah Stevens, sophomore forward Katie Romey, and freshman guard Karen Force.

One area that the team needed to improve upon was controlling its personal fouls. The Red committed an absurd 31 fouls in its November 18th match against Army, giving the Black Knights 32 points from the foul line, almost three times more than the 11 point difference in the match. In last weekend’s action, the Red committed 23 total fouls.

The Red still comes up short in the rebound department. In the majority of its games during December and January, Cornell grabbed fewer offensive and total rebounds than its opponents, giving it fewer opportunities to take a second and third shot.

“We worked on rebounding, and all of a sudden we have become impatient,” Dacko explained. “It’s a situation where we get into position, but we are not moving to get the ball. That’s what we have to do, just go get the ball. “

However, the Red is working to make up for its Achilles heal by sinking a conference leading 41.4% and 40.8% of its field goals and three-point shots, respectively.

The Red will look to improve tomorrow at 5 p.m. in the Levien Gymnasium at Columbia.

Dacko listed the team’s goals for the contest: “We need to box out, play solid defense, and go to the line and make our free throws.”

Archived article by Katherine Granish