November 25, 2003

Lady Cagers to Face St. Francis

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After opening its season at the Indiana Classic this past weekend, the women’s basketball team continues its non-conference slate tonight against Saint Francis at 7 p.m. in Loretto, Penn. The Red (0-2) dropped contests to Indiana and Indiana St. over the weekend, while the Red Flash (1-1) lost to North Carolina-Chapel Hill and rebounded to beat North Carolina-Greensboro.

The cagers were outpaced by Indiana in the first half of the tourney opener, but put forth a strong effort in the second. Senior Tanya Karcic racked up a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Against Indiana State, the Red got off to a better start, but the Sycamores went on a 15-1 scoring run to go into the break ahead.

“They didn’t give up and they played with a lot of pride. We knew coming in here that there were a lot of talented teams, and we just want to learn from what our experiences were and take some good and bad,” said head coach Dayna Smith of the team’s effort at the Indiana Classic.

In its season opener against No. 13 UNC, Saint Francis put up only 44 points, but responded with an 80-point effort against North Carolina-Greensboro. Junior center Beth Swink, a first-team 2002-03 Northeast Conference selection, is averaging 21 points per game, along with 10.5 rebounds. The Red Flash return two other starters in NEC Defensive Player of the Year Tonjee Ward and Karen Hewitt.

“Saint Francis won their conference last year, they’re an NCAA tournament team year after year, and they’re very experienced. They have a new coach and a new offensive system, so we’re not quite sure what that’s going to present for us,” remarked Smith. “Going into [last] weekend, we knew we were playing bigger, stronger teams, and we needed to step up the level of play. It’s a different tempo of play, and I hope we can duplicate that when we go play Saint Francis.”

NEC Coach of the Year Myndi Hill left Saint Francis in the offseason to take the head coaching position at Manhattan. New head coach Jill Poe takes over the program after serving as an assistant coach at Duquesne for seven seasons.

Still, Smith is confident in her team.

“We played a Big 10 team that really gets up and down the court, and was aggressive and strong, and if we can play the way we did in the second half against Indiana, if we play that way against St. Francis, we have a good chance of knocking off a good team,” said Smith.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach