January 23, 2004

W. Hoops Host Lions

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After facing a challenging non-conference schedule, the women’s basketball team (6-8, 1-0 Ivy) heads into its Ivy portion of the season when it welcomes Columbia (6-7, 0-1 Ivy) to Newman Arena tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. The Red faced the Lions last weekend in New York City, and came away with a 61-50 win. Cornell looks to sweep its travel partner for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

“We know what Columbia’s like, they’re very physical and we learned that in the first game. We came out and were aggressive in the first half, and it worked to our advantage,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “They didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, I think part of it was our defense and part of it was they had a bad night, so we’re looking for them to really come out playing more physical and that’s something we’re going to have to adjust to.”

Against the Lions last week, four of the Red’s starters reached double figures. Seniors Tanya Karcic and Dani Aretino each posted a double-double and Karcic led all scorers with 22 points. Both players also grabbed 10 rebounds.

After starting 0-4, the Red compiled a 6-4 record over the break, including a 20-point victory over Syracuse, the team’s first since 1974.

“We played very well [against Syracuse]. I think it gave us a bit of confidence and showed that if we show up every night, we can compete with whoever it is,” said Smith.

In the team’s final non-conference game of the season against Duquesne on Tuesday, the cagers faced a very talented squad led by guard Candace Futrell, and the Dukes came away with a 77-62 win. Futrell had the hot shooting hand on the evening, shooting 50 percent from the field, including six 3-pointers, and finished with 30 points. Senior Katie Romey had 17 points, while Aretino recorded her second straight double-double.

The Red’s defense will be tested against Columbia, as senior guard Sue Altman is a dangerous threat on the perimeter. On the other end, the cagers will have to contend with Columbia’s physical defense.

“On the offensive end, we can’t slow down what we’re trying to do just because they’re being a little physical with us, bumping cutters and really pushing in the post, and being really physical out on the perimeter. They’re just a scrappy team, and that’s something that we’re going to have to adjust to,” said Smith.

The Red’s perimeter play will be important, as Columbia looks to shut down Karcic and Aretino in the post.

“I think they might focus a little bit on Tanya, and that’s going to open things up for some other people, and they’re going to need to step up and hit some open shots out on the perimeter,” Smith said.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach