January 24, 2003

Women's Hoops Looks to Rebound Against Columbia

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Smarting from a 61-35 loss at Buffalo on Monday night, the women’s basketball team heads to New York City for a second encounter with Columbia in the space of a week. Last Saturday, Nicole Lesko provided the heroics for the Lions as they came away from Newman Arena with a win for the second year running. The Red (6-8, 0-1 Ivy) will be looking for a repeat of last season, when the women earned a split of the season series.

Coach Dayna Smith and her players will head into this weekend hoping that the debacle at Buffalo was a mere hiccup and not an indication of things to come. In an uncharacteristic performance, the Red shot an atrocious 22 percent from the field while recording its lowest point total of the year.

“We’re not going to panic about it,” said Smith. “I know for a fact that our team will never show up and play the way it did against Buffalo. It’s just not who we are.”

While a 26-point defeat was perhaps not the response that Smith was looking for after a tough Ivy League loss, she is confident that there will be no negative long-term effects on her players.

“I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse effect nor are we shrugging our shoulders and forgetting about it,” she said. “We’re going to learn from what happened. We did not come ready to play, we were probably still down from the Columbia loss, and you just can’t do that. When games are over, you run from it and you move on to the next one, and I don’t think we did that on Monday night.”

On Saturday, the Red opened its Ivy League account by playing host to Columbia (8-6, 1-0 Ivy). Although junior guard Karen Force once again led the way with 18 points, the Red shot only 31 percent on the night against 43 percent by the Lions.

“We just haven’t been executing very well,” admitted Smith. “We’re drifting through some cuts, we’re not setting solid screens, we’re taking poor shots at the wrong times, and the times we do have open shots, we’re just not knocking them down”.

One player who will be looking to impress is junior guard Katie Romey. After taking her sophomore year off, Romey has stepped into a graduation-riddled backcourt to provide some much needed outside shooting. Her 9.6 points per game are currently third highest on the team, but she will have to improve on her 0-9 effort against the Lions the last time out.

“Katie had one of those games when she couldn’t buy a basket, but that’s not going to happen too often with Katie,” said Smith. “A lot of teams are keying in on Katie because she’s our best three-point shooter, so we need to respond in other ways so we can take some of that burden off her”.

Even if the Red is able to establish its outside game early, it is at the defensive end where the game could be won or lost. One player who will merit close attention is Lesko, who hit the Red for a game-high 20 points the last time around.

“We did a poor job of picking up Lesko,” lamented Smith. “She hurt us off the dribble. We just need to do a better job playing one-on-one defense. We talk all year about team defense but within that you need to take care of your business and we didn’t do that, especially against Lesko. She hit some big shots and she came through in clutch moments.”

Archived article by Soo Kim