November 19, 2004

Revamped Frontcourt Aids Cagers

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While old age and treachery may have a historical advantage, the women’s basketball team is banking on a newer — and younger — trend.

“We are inexperienced so we have to rely on raw talent,” said sophomore guard Claire Perry. “That is going to be the theme of the season.”

The season she is referring to is the 2004-05 term, which will have an entirely different look heading into the squad’s opening game tomorrow against Mt. St. Mary’s in the UMBC tournament.

For the past two seasons, Cornell has finished with a 4-10 Ivy League record with very little change to the team occurring in the off-season. However, the same cannot be said about this year, as the team graduated a six member senior class including all five starters.

“Our leading returning scorer averaged only 3.5 points per game last season,” said third-year head coach Dayna Smith.

Cornell will have to rebuild its team from a group that served as role players in the past — and some added newcomers. This will greatly change the team’s strategy to play to its current strengths.

“We will be able to run,” said sophomore forward Amy Lyon.

Among the changes are an undersized, but quicker frontcourt.

“Our forwards are more athletic than last year,” Lyon said. “We have players that are traditionally guards playing the forward position, so we are going to be able to run the floor and get some points in transition.”

5-10 Junior Brittani Rettig is the most experienced forward on the team, as she came off the bench in all 27 contests a year ago.

“[Brittani] had a terrific summer and came back in great shape,” Smith said. “She worked a lot on her post up game and her moves down low. She is more athletic and quicker and has skills similar to a guard.”

However, Rettig suffered a knee injury on the second day of practice this season and she will not return to the starting lineup until sometime in December.

With Rettig out of action, the bulk of load will fall on the shoulders of 5-11 sophomore Amy Lyon, a walk-on last year.

Lyon is also undersized, but makes up for it in quickness and athleticism. She has gained Smith’s praises for her off-season work ethic.

“Over the summer, she hit the weight room,” Smith said. “She definitely added some strength to her game and it has been extremely helpful for her. She has put herself in a position to earn tons of playing time.”

The frontcourt is rounded out by three freshmen taller than six feet — Morgan Dickens, Megan Hughes, and Melissa Kollonige.

All three should see significant playing time in their first season at Cornell due to a lack of depth at the position. Tomorrow’s game will start at 2 p.m.

Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer