February 9, 2001

Women's Hoops Hopes to Stop Three Game Skid by Defeating Yale and Brown

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Tonight and tomorrow, Cornell is looking to recover from a three-game skid that saw it drop from third to sixth in one fortnight. Its foes will journey from both ends of the spectrum. “These matches are important for us to get back our confidence, for us to stop our losing streak, and for us to finish up strong,” senior forward Jennifer Linker said.

Yale (5-14, 0-6 Ivy) comes in with nothing to lose. At home last weekend, the Bulldogs faced Pennsylvania and Princeton who hold the first and seventh spots in the conference, respectively.

Against the Quakers, Yale almost staged one of the biggest upsets of the season. With under a minute left, and the home team up by five points, Penn used a three-pointer and lay-up to send the game into overtime. The extra minutes proved deadly for the Bulldogs, who found the bottom of the net only once from the field, as the guests shot an incredible 80 percent and out scored them 17-5.

24 hours later, Yale again found itself on the court after 40 minutes of regulation had elapsed. In the second half against Princeton, after the lead changed seven times, after the score was tied six times, and after neither team lead by more than four points, junior forward Meg Simpson lofted the ball into the net, and sent the team into extra innings.

Although the Bulldogs stepped up their play in hopes of ending the weekend at .500, it was not quite enough, and the Tigers left with a 61-60 victory.

Yale has three players averaging more than four rebounds per game in Simpson and senior forwards Lily Glick and Alyson Miller. Sophomore guard Maria Smear has been the Bulldogs most consistent offensive contributor, nailing a .437 mark from the field and a team-high .464 average from the three-point range.

As a team, Yale is making 30.5% of its field goals and 67.9% of its free throws.

Tomorrow night, Brown (10-9, 5-1 Ivy) heads into Newman Arena looking to hold its spot in the rankings.

Last weekend, it found itself battling the reciprocal of Yale’s match-ups.

Princeton gave the home team little trouble. In the second half, with help from the Tigers, who were unable to convert for more than 10 minutes, Brown went on a 23-0 run and only allowed 13 points total to be scored against it. When the buzzer sounded, the Bears emerged with a 68-35 trouncing.

The Quakers would not succumb so easily. Both teams leap-frogged for an advantage in the second half, but Penn managed to shutdown the Brown offense in the final minute, leaving the Bears with a 77-72 loss, its first in conference action.

Junior captain Rada Pavichevich is guiding the Bears by shooting a solid 40.1 % from the field and 71.1% from the free throw line, while pulling down an average of 5.8 rebounds each 40 minutes. She is versatile and able to play both guard and forward, impressive considering her relatively short 5’10” stature.

Sophomore guard Barbara Maloni is establishing herself by averaging 21.7 points every game. Freshman forward Nyema Mitchell has also been a factor in her team’s success, as she is sinking 50.4% of her field goals and grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game.

Despite its losing streak, the Red has made an effort to improve on rebounding, an area where it has remained at the bottom of the league for the entire season. In last week’s 61-58 loss to Harvard, Cornell out-rebounded the Crimson offensively 20-17 and matched its total at 43-all.

Similarly, against Dartmouth in a 64-49 defeat, the Red pulled down 45 boards to the Green’s 39.

The progress it has made on the boards, however, has caused the team a small setback offensively. Making an overall 31.3 percent and 23.3 percent against Harvard and Dartmouth, respectively, the team has recognized that it needs to concentrate on putting the ball in the hoop.

“We have routed our emphasis to rebounding over the past few games. We have been at the bottom of the league in rebounding, so we have to make an effort to crash the boards,” Linker commented on the team’s defensive improvement.

“We just need to refocus on our shooting now. You never really know why you aren’t shooting well, but we are trying to refocus, put that behind us, and come out fresh this weekend,” she said of the team’s goals.

Put simply, the team has “had a problem with inconsistency,” according to freshman guard Karen Force.

What also remains to be seen this weekend is if the Red can establish itself early and maintain that lead with a consistent level of play. Cornell suffered from a lapse in one half of each game last weekend, spelling its ultimate doom in both. The team is optimistic that returning to campus will help it regain composure.

“It’s huge being on the home court. It is where you are used to playing and you have the crowd on your side. We have been very fortunate to have really good home crowds,” Linker acknowledged. “It’s also a pride thing. When someone comes in, you don’t let them beat you on your own home court.”

Ultimately, the team’s goal is to come out on top.

“Everybody is going to come out hungry for a win. To come home from a long road trip with two losses under our belt, I know everybody is going to come out ready to play. We are finally on the home court, in front of the home crowd, so hopefully we will pull together,” Force expressed.

‘Our main goal is to win,” Linker echoed.

She also added that ‘In the Ivy League, on any given night, any team can beat any other team. You never have a game where you say we are definitely going to beat this team, and you never have a game where you say we don’t have a chance.”

Cornell will face Yale tonight at 7 p.m. and Brown tomorrow night, also at 7 p.m. The contests will take place in Newman Arena.

Archived article by Katherine Granish