Looking for its first Ivy sweep of the year, the women’s basketball team heads down to Princeton (5-13, 2-3 Ivy) and Penn (11-7, 5-0) for two 7 p.m. contests today and tomorrow. The Red (8-11, 3-3) split its two games last weekend, losing to Brown on Friday, then beating Yale on Saturday. With the win against the Bulldogs, Cornell is one win away from equaling its Ivy win total from last year.
After three straight weeks at home, this weekend’s contests will be the first road Ivy games for the Red.
“We’re actually anxious to get out on the road. Going down to Penn and Princeton, it’s a good trip to go, and I think they’re real excited for the games,” said head coach Dayna Smith.
Last Friday against Brown, the Red rallied back in the second half with a 13-3 run to come within six points, but the Bears pulled away with a 69-56 win. Seniors Tanya Karcic and tri-captain Katie Romey each put up a double-double in the loss.
The following night, the Red mounted a 14-0 run to erase a six-point halftime deficit, and took control down the stretch to seal the 70-63 win. Senior tri-captain Lauren Kilduff led all scorers with 21 points, shooting 72 percent from the floor.
In Princeton, the Red faces a team with five underclassmen starters. Despite their inexperience, the Tigers have played in some close conference games. Two of Princeton’s top three scorers are freshmen, and sophomore Rebecca Brown leads the team with in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game.
“Any team in this league can be anybody, and Princeton has taken some teams down to the wire. They beat Brown, which was a great win, a close game with Dartmouth, and they lost a tough one to Harvard, which was probably their only bad loss,” said Smith. “They’re a very good team, they’re scrappy, they can shoot the three. They have some young freshmen that are really making an impact.”
The Penn game will mark Smith’s second return to the Palestra, after serving under Penn head coach Kelly Greenberg as an assistant for three seasons.
“I recruited most of those players, so I know them all, and I know their strengths and weaknesses, but they’re very smart coaches, they have great game plans. Kelly is very unpredictable with the type of defensive scheme or offensive scheme she’s going to use,” commented Smith.
On the offensive end, senior Jewel Clark has been the team’s leading scorer in all but four of Penn’s games this season, and is currently second in the league in scoring, averaging 19.3 points per game. Sophomore Jennifer Fleischer has been the dominant rebounder on the team, as she is second in the league in rebounding with 9.4 rebounds per game.
The Red will need to come out ready to play this weekend, as it fell behind early in both games last weekend, and this will be especially important as the team hits the road for the first time in nearly four weeks.
“We’re going to travel, and that’s not something we’re used to, we’ve been home for so long, so I think we’re going to have to be mentally tough to stay focused on our game, even though we have the long bus trips and everything,” said Kilduff. “I think just once we get in the gym, we have to forget that we’re away and just focus on ourselves, focus on the game, and take care of business.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach