January 25, 2002

Cagers Defend Undefeated Ivy Record

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The lady cagers will look to extend their season-high winning streak to five games when they entertain in-state rivals Columbia (7-8, 1-2 Ivy) tomorrow. The Red (9-7, 3-0 Ivy) enters the contest having won eight of its last ten and is currently in sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings.

The early season struggles, which saw the Red slump to 1-5 after a road defeat to Colgate, appear to be over for the moment. After letting some close games slip away in the latter stages of the second half, the Red has now become accustomed to squeaking out wins, with two of its last three victories coming by a margin of two points.

“We have a lot more confidence,” admitted senior guard Breean Walas. “We’re working together a lot better because you learn more and more about each other as the season goes on.”

The intense rivalries fueled by Ivy League encounters have also played a part in elevating the performances of the women’s basketball team.

“Our whole season leads up to the Ivy League schedule,” said Walas. “We get more hyped up for these games.”

In preparation for this weekend, Cornell’s coaching staff won’t have to dig too deep for scouting reports or old game films, as the opposition will be a familiar one. Last Saturday, in the first game of a home-and-home series, the Red recorded a convincing 70-56 victory at Columbia. However, this is no reason for the women to rest on their laurels.

“We have to come out and play our game and play defense,” said Walas. “They’re gonna come out hungry because we beat them on their home floor.”

Although the Red beat the Lions comfortably on the road, it will not be a complacent club.

“We take every game very seriously, as if it’s our last,” replied Walas. “We just have to go out and play it like any other game.”

No doubt Walas will be relishing the prospect of a rematch with the Lions. In Saturday’s win, she had one of best performances of her collegiate career, pouring in 24 points and nabbing 13 rebounds. For her efforts, Walas received the Ivy League’s Player of the Week award, becoming the second Cornell player to do so this season. For the season, Walas is averaging 10.2 points per game and over five rebounds a contest. After a solid but unspectacular start to the season, Walas is raising her level of play at just the right time.

Saturday’s meeting with Columbia is the first of a three game homestand for the Red. With Penn and Princeton the visitors next weekend, the women will have a golden opportunity to open up a lead in the league standings. If recent form is any indication, it would be hard to bet against the Red on tomorrow.

Archived article by Soo Kim