November 13, 2002

Preseason Ivy League Hoops Poll Announced

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The Ivy League announced the men’s and women’s basketball preseason media rankings yesterday, placing the Red women fourth and the men sixth in the polls. Penn topped the men’s rankings, garnering 11 of 16 first place votes, while Harvard unanimously claimed the women’s No. 1 slot.

The Cornell women are coming off the finest season in the program’s history, having finished second in last year’s competitive race for the Ivy crown. The Red ended with a 14-13 record but were within a single game of claiming the title. A double overtime loss to eventual champion, Harvard, was the deciding factor in an exciting, yet dramatically disappointing 2001-02 campaign. Though Cornell returns eight letter winners and three starters from last year’s squad, it will be a new-look ensemble that takes the court when the Red opens its season Friday, Nov. 22 against Coppin State.

Last year’s team featured the dynamic duo of Breean Walas ’02 and Do Stevens ’02, and was led by the wisdom of longtime head coach Marnie Dacko. With Dacko now calling plays at UMass, and Stevens and Walas lost to graduation, this year’s team begins with more questions than answers. Junior All-Ivy guard Karen Force, along with seniors Ify Ossai and Lynell Davis will be expected to contribute, while four rookies will attempt to break into coach Dayna Smith’s rotation.

The Quakers of Penn followed the Crimson with 105 total votes, while Dartmouth claimed the third spot with 88. After Cornell (67), were Yale (59), Columbia (55), Princeton (49), and Brown (25).

As for the men, who ended last season with a 5-22 record, the sixth place ranking is an indication of the upward potential for this year’s team. The Red will return three starters from a year ago including sophomore Eric Taylor, classmate Cody Toppert, and junior Ka’Ron Barnes. Head coach Steve Donahue will also count on a talented freshman class for immediate production. Cornell is one of the youngest teams in all of Div. I, boasting just two upperclassmen on the entire squad.

Penn was chosen to repeat as champions while second-ranked Yale was the only other team to receive a first-place vote with five and 116 overall. Princeton (90), Brown (85), and Harvard (64) rounded out the top five. Following Cornell (37) were Columbia (33) and Dartmouth (28).

The poll is a composite of votes from two media officials at each Ivy League university and is administered by the Ivy League office.

Archived article by Sun Staff