November 19, 2003

Guarding the Ivies

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One will be hard pressed to find a more dangerous big three in the league this season than Cornell’s own. Yet seniors 5-9 Karen Force, 5-10 Lauren Kilduff, and 6-1 Katie Romey aren’t called that for their size — it’s for their scoring presence.

“I think the three of them will be a real scoring trio that needs to be reckoned with on the defensive end. I think teams are really going to have to key in on them because they’re very versatile, and they can score from all different ways,” said head coach Dayna Smith.

Despite learning a new system from scratch last year, Cornell’s guards showed great promise and improvement. The guards have easily built themselves into the deepest position on the team, and are now past the transition period.

“It was an adjustment, like any coaching change is an adjustment, but we all came in with positive attitudes ready to learn. That’s what we needed to do, and I think we came in with the proper mindset to do that and it’s paid off. I think we’ve done a good job, and we’ve adjusted well,” said Force.

Serving in her third season as captain, Force became the first junior in program history to be named to the All-Ivy first team last season, when she led the team in scoring with 15.1 points per game. She will the play the point again this season, and — under Smith’s offense — will be able to drive inside frequently.

At 6-1, Romey provides size at guard and has developed into a scoring threat. After taking her sophomore season off, Romey came back strongly last season, registering 7.6 ppg, and ranking second on the team in assists, 3-pointers, and blocks.

“I think this year we’re able to read the defense a little better. Last year, I think we were stuck in some of the plays. I think already we’re starting to read things, and get a lot more options out of things,” said Romey. “I think it’s just after a year of experiences under our new coaches, and running these plays. We already knew them coming into this year, so we’re a lot more used to them this year.”

The third senior captain, Kilduff, worked her way into the starting lineup midway through last season. Her rebounding ability has been key at both ends of the floor. She led the guards last season with 4.8 rebounds per game.

While the team lost some size, the Red’s speed and intensity more than make up for it.

“We look to run a lot, we’re going to look to run the ball up the court as much as possible, and out of that we look for a lot of basics, pick and roll, back-door, just really moving the ball, and being crisp,” remarked Kilduff.

Providing depth off the bench will be junior Lindsey Dean. A local product of Lansing, N.Y., Dean came off the bench in 13 games last season. The trio of sophomores — Hillary Seidel, Sarah Brown, and Brittani Rettig — all saw playing time as freshmen, with Seidel appearing in all but one game. Two freshmen round out the backcourt. Claire Perry went down with an injury, but Katherine Stritzl looks to settle in at point guard.

As one of the top point guards in the country during her playing days at Rhode Island, Smith brings valuable experience to the guard position.

“I’m tough on them, especially the point guards. Hopefully, they know I’ve kind of been through it in that position, and I think that they trust me. Being a player that has competed in that situation, you kind of understand what they’re going through and just try to translate that out on the court,” said Smith.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach