After suffering three consecutive losses in its first three games of the season, the women’s basketball team (0-3, 0-0 Ivy) will look to battle back against regional-rival Colgate (3-1, 0-0 Patriot) tonight in Hamilton, N.Y. The Red has had trouble so far this season because of the caliber of its competition, but the Raiders will be no cakewalk.
“Colgate is a very scrappy team,” explained head coach Dayna Smith. “They are very aggressive on the defensive end.”
Colgate is a strong team, and the squad came out of the starting gate on fire this season. The Raiders won each of their first three games, and lost for the first time this season last Saturday at Vermont, 85-75.
Colgate has several players that the Red will have to defend against carefully. Senior Malissa Burke, who will be a force for the Raiders, averaged 11.1 points per game last year and recently surpassed the 1000-point mark in her college career. The Red will also have to keep an eye on freshman Molly Patterson, who was named Patriot League Freshman of the Week two weeks ago after averaging 16 points per game in Colgate’s first two contests.
“Colgate is very balanced,” said Smith. “It’s difficult to key in on one person. We need to shut down as much as possible Patterson, and we are going to focus in a little bit on Burke.”
In addition to managing Colgate’s top players, the Red has to get several of its own going if it expects to see any positive results tonight. Senior Karen Force, hobbled by injury, has yet to find her stride, garnering only a single point in Cornell’s last game against St. Francis.
“Karen is battling an injury right now,” said Smith. “We’ve got to get her to be our point guard and make good decisions.”
In addition, the Red as a whole has been struggling, after averaging just below 33 percent shooting in its three games. Opponents have also outscored Cornell by about 34 points per game.
When asked about who could step up in Force’s place, Smith explained, “I think Katie Romey needs to be consistent as far as point production. I also think Tanya Karcic needs to be more dominating inside. [And] Lauren Kilduff needs to be a bit more offensive-minded. If Karen can pick up the leadership part, we’ll be OK.”
This game against Colgate marks the fourth and final contest in the Red’s somewhat disappointing season-opening road trip. However, if Cornell can finally mesh as a team against the Raiders, the Red may consider itself successful.
“We haven’t defined who we are,” explained Smith. “If we play the way we’re capable of playing, I think we can compete with [Colgate] and we can beat them.”
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini