January 31, 2003

Lady Cagers Look to Stop Skid

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The women’s basketball (6-9, 0-2 Ivy) team is heading on the road this weekend in search of its first Ivy League win to break a three-game losing streak.

Two Saturdays ago, the women battled Columbia (9-6, 2-0) to within three points in a contest that was close for the final 13 minutes of regulation. When the teams met in a rematch this past weekend, however, Cornell fell flat in the second half and lost 67-47. The Red was no doubt reeling from the 61-35 defeat that Buffalo dealt the previous Monday.

But those losses are old news.

Tonight, the Red will face Brown (8-7, 2-0) and tomorrow will bring a meeting with Yale (3-12, 0-2).

The Bears’ two conference wins have both come against the Bulldogs over the past two weeks. In the opening contest, Brown came out ahead of Yale and won by a final score of 84-77.

In the game last weekend, the Bears used its momentum and confidence from the previous match-up to win 70-55, only allowing Yale to within five points in the second half before pulling away to close out the game.

Head coach Dayna Smith acknowledged the Bears’ current winning streak.

“Brown is on a roll right now. Their post players are really stepping up. The guards are versatile and can shoot from anywhere,” she said.

Brown is a well-rounded team with good hands, evidenced by its 42.6 percent success from the field. Junior forward Nyema Mitchell, this week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, leads the team in field goal percentage (.533), rebounds (8.0), and points per game (14.7). Junior guard Tanara Golston is also a solid player and is shooting 44.9 percent from the field with 12.2 ppg. Freshman guard Sarah Hayes is shooting 50 percent and averaging 8.9 ppg with 6.2 rebounds per game.

“We are going to have to play some team defense,” Smith said. “They are capable of scoring from many different ways, so we are going to have to slow them down and help each other in the post.”

Although Yale does not look as impressive as Brown on paper, Smith advised against overlooking the Bulldogs.

“You can’t look at Yale’s record because they are much better than that,” she warned. “They can shoot the three and they have some skilled players.”

Yale is led by sophomore forward Lindsay Page who is shooting 44.9 percent with 5.4 rpg and 11.3 ppg. Classmate Tory Mauseth is shooting 33.8 percent with 3.7 rpg and 9.4 ppg.

Junior forward Bonnie Smith leads the upperclassmen by shooting 44.2 percent from the field and averaging 4.1 rpg and 9.3 ppg. Christina Phillips, also a junior forward, is shooting 41.4 percent with 5.4 rpg and 11.3 ppg.

“They played Brown well, except for a few minutes in each game that Brown really took the games away,” Smith said. “If you take away two or three minutes of each game, they both would have been really close. We aren’t looking past Yale at all, and they will be as good as Brown in my eyes.”

After a tough fortnight, the team “got back to some basic things this week in practice and had some good meetings and really responded well,” Smith said. “We are looking for everyone to step up. Everyone needs to take some ownership and responsibility on the court.

“As individuals, we have not been playing to our potential, and they really need to take care of their own business.”

Similar to Yale, Cornell has been victimized by spotty play and dug its own grave against Columbia and Buffalo by going many minutes without a basket.

“We need to come out and play for 40 minutes. We did not play well for 40 minutes in either game against Columbia,” she said. “We need to be in a position where we can compete at the end of the game, we need more intensity on defense, and the offense needs to work on finishing the easy basket.”

While a pair of victories is the ultimate goal for the Red, the team has a broader outlook over the remaining two months of the season.

“We want to win, but we want to get better,” Smith concluded.

Archived article by Katherine Granish