December 5, 2003

Cornell Classic Hits Newman Court

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Looking for its first win of the season, the women’s basketball team welcomes Bucknell, James Madison, and Winthrop to Newman Arena for the Cornell Classic, beginning tonight. The Red (0-4, 0-0 Ivy) will take on Bucknell (1-3) at 7 p.m., while James Madison (1-3) squares off against Winthrop (1-1) at 5 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be held tomorrow at 5 and 7 p.m. respectively.

The Red looks to continue its strong play from Tuesday’s night game against Colgate. Cornell went on a 13-2 run in the second half, but could not close the gap, and the Raiders won 77-63.

“I think we played a lot better on Tuesday night, and I think it was a good stepping stone, and I really expect us to come out playing the same way, playing with the same level of intensity,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “Bucknell is a good team, but I think if we come out and do the little things and play aggressive, we have a good chance of getting our first win game.”

Four of the Red’s five starters reached double figures, with senior Tanya Karcic leading all scorers with 19 points. Senior tri-captain Karen Force had her best game so far this season, racking up 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting, went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and made each of her four free throws. Senior tri-captains Lauren Kilduff and Katie Romey scored 11 and 12 points, respectively. This was the first game that the Red had four players in double figures.

“Those four seniors need to do that on a consistent basis, and we need one or two other players to round it out for us. Our point production is increasing but it needs to go up even higher,” said Smith. “We need a couple of people to come off the bench and make some easy shots, we need to finish some lay-ups, and we need to make our free throws. I think if everyone can do their little part, then things are going to come together.”

Senior Dani Aretino dominated the glass, as she led all players with 12 rebounds. Force, who was hindered in the team’s previous games by injury, shined on Tuesday night, and was a major presence for Cornell on the floor.

“It was what our team needed. She played a little bit like her old self, and it was huge. It gave us an emotional boost, and points-wise we need her production. She was just a good point guard on Tuesday night, and I think if she can duplicate that, then we’re going to do pretty well,” said Smith.

Bucknell comes into the Cornell Classic after dropping its last game to Bowling Green on Wednesday. The Bison handily defeated the Red in the teams’ last meeting 2001 in Lewisburg, Penn. The Red notched its second win against Bucknell in the teams’ 12 meetings in the 2000 Cornell Classic final.

The Red will need to key in on Bucknell co-captain Desire Almind, who racked up a career-high 33 points against Bowling Green, while shooting 88 percent from the floor. An All-Patriot Team selection last season, Almind is averaging a double-double with 20 points and 13.2 rebounds a game. Freshman guard Lindsey Hollobaugh is second on the team in scoring and rebounds, and was named Patriot League Freshman of the Week for her performances in the team’s first two games.

“I think we have to respect Bucknell’s go-to players, but we need to set the tone. I thought our preparation for the Colgate game was very good, we were focused. We had three very good practices prior to that game, so when we prepare for Bucknell, we need to come in ready to compete, be focused, and take that into the game,” said Smith.

Winthrop and James Madison will meet for the first time since 1976. Both teams have a lot of youth, with Winthrop starting four freshman, and James Madison starting three. James Madison has never faced Cornell, while Winthrop dropped its only meeting with the Red during the 2000-01 season.

After being on the road for the first four games of the season, the Red is looking forward to its first home contests.

“Just being here this week, not having to travel, and sleeping in our own beds, it’s been a huge advantage for us, and our players are very, very excited to have our home court advantage back in play,” said Smith.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach