Friday Night, 7:00 p.m., Bartels Hall, Newman Arena
Write it in your little planner, jot it on a Post-it note, do what you need to do in order to be at the Cornell women’s basketball game this Friday night. It is undoubtedly the biggest game in the program’s history and probably one of the biggest games on this year’s Cornell athletics schedule.
Now highlight that date and time in your planner, put a little star next to it and send out an e-mail to all your friends with some annoying subject that will definitely catch their attention (I used: YOU WILL CHOKE IF YOU ERASE THIS MESSAGE), because it’s against our friends at Harvard. Yes, this round of the Harvard rivalry (fish-throwing or not) will be on the hardwood and should be just as exciting as the Crimson and Red on ice.
So let me tell you a little bit about the women’s basketball team if you’re not caught up. It is currently 14-9 overall and 8-2 in Ivy league play. That record is not only the team’s finest mark ever at this point in the season but also places the Red only a half game back of Ivy league leaders (Guess who!) Harvard. The team has won 13 of its last 17 after starting the year at 1-5.
Cornell’s first Ivy loss came at the hands of Columbia in overtime by two points. The Red had defeated the Lions by 14 points the weekend before and had led by double digits with just five minutes remaining in the second game.
The lady cagers’ (This is what we call them for some strange reason) other Ivy defeat was one of those games that you wish could just go a little bit longer. Cornell’s six-point loss at Harvard two weekends ago (Who would’ve thought? It just all seems too dramatic) was a very characteristic nail-biter for this team as the Red mounted a glorious comeback in the game’s final five minutes only to have the buzzer sound too soon. It was a crushing loss for a squad that had gained so much momentum and yet had worked so hard to get to that point.
However, these women are not the type to back down and hang their heads after a tough loss. Instead, they came back last weekend and stuck it to Yale — a team they had only beat by a single basket in their first meeting — 60-51.
The following night, the Red won a true struggle against a surprisingly able Brown team in the game’s final moments, literally. It took two Do Stevens (We’ll get to her) free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Red the narrowest of margins over the Bears, 51-49.
Of course, finishes like the one against Brown last weekend are not rare for these heartbreak kids. Four of Cornell’s Ivy contests alone have been decided by a single basket or less. And as someone who has attended many of the games this season, a typical Ivy league women’s basketball game is never decided until well after the five-minute (or so) mark.
This Friday’s game should be no different against the Crimson, as the Red will head into the game hungrier than this program has ever been before.
I know, I know. “But Mr. Daily Sun (This is what my friends now refer to me as. I bow before thee, Sun God), there’s a men’s hockey game at home on Friday.
I love hockey just as much as anyone else here, maybe a little (lot) more, and I also have tickets for Friday night’s game. But if there’s any week to miss the precious icers home visit, this is the week.
The men’s hockey team doesn’t even have much riding on this weekend. They have already clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs — which is all anyone cares about anyway — and if Dartmouth wins its games over the weekend, it will clinch the Ivy title regardless of what Cornell does.
Ok, so how about this. I’ll fill you in on what will happen at the hockey games. Our guys will mop the floor with Clarkson and St. Lawrence, someone will announce that Dartmouth won, everyone will boo and then wish they had gone to see the women’s basketball team claim its biggest win (get this) EVER.
The lady cagers are led, almost exclusively, by the three guard tandem of tri-captain seniors Do Stevens, Breean Walas and sophomore Karen Force. They have each claimed Ivy League Player of the Week at some point in this year’s campaign and can each put up huge numbers on either end of the court.
Walas and Stevens are part of the winningest class of women’s basketball players ever at Cornell and would love to finish off their legendary careers with the ultimate prize. Plus, their names are easier to pronounce than Krzysztof Wieckowski and Michael Knoepfli.
If the Red can win on Friday and then win its remaining three games (against teams who they beat by a combined 51 points in their first meetings) it will clinch at least a share of the Ivy title.
We all yearn for a Harvard rivalry here and so often we hear that it is not nearly as serious on the other end of the hate we spew. Maybe if we could diversify our dominance of the Cambridge Brats, they will really hate us one day.
If that doesn’t strike you as inflammatory, maybe the fact that for all of you who are dying for a rubber match on the ice, this can be a way of getting that revenge you have hungered for since the icers split with the Crimson this hockey season.
I ask that if you have an ounce of Cornell pride in yourself, or wish that there were something other than hockey, food and the new dorms on North to be proud of here on East Hill, head to Newman Arena before you go out on Friday and maybe the “celebration” you partake in afterwards will be just a little sweeter.
Bring your friends, bring some nosy stuff, and bring your bellowing vocals because hey, it’s a chance to hate on Harvard and a chance to see what you’ve been missing when it wasn’t intermission at the hockey game.
Archived article by Scott Jones