After a split in its opening weekend, the women’s basketball team returns to the road today for a matchup with Bucknell.
With two games under its belt, the Red is starting to learn a little bit about the makeup of a team that lost all five starters from a year ago.
“Going down to [the UMBC tournament], we had a lot of questions to be answered and I think we came out and executed our game plan,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “I was very happy with our effort both nights. We found out that we do have some scorers on our team.”
The scorers that Smith is referring to are junior Sarah Brown and sophomores Amy Lyon and Claire Perry. In two games in Baltimore, all three reached double digits in scoring and accounted for two-thirds of the team’s total points. For their efforts, Perry and Lyon were named to the all-tournament team.
The problem last weekend lied in the rebounding advantage that the Red allowed. In the championship game against Coppin State, the Lady Eagles had a 39-23 edge on the glass, with 23 of those boards coming on offense. These second chance opportunities were too much for the Red to overcome, falling 70-50.
“Bucknell is going to be somewhat different,” Smith said. “Against Coppin [State], one of their strengths was their size and power. We played a little bit of zone because of their quickness and it was presenting some mismatches on the boards. We are just not crashing the boards very hard.”
Bucknell had rebounding problems of its own in its opening weekend of play. After falling to Florida International on Friday, the Bison shot 50 percent from the floor the following day against Texas A&M. But it allowed the Aggies to tally 30 offensive rebounds and attempt an astonishing 45 more shots in a 68-53 loss. Along with the rebounding deficit, the Bison turned the ball over 32 times.
But Smith thinks Bucknell’s 0-2 start is a little deceiving.
“Bucknell is a very good team,” Smith said. “They played down in a tough tournament last weekend. One of their strengths is their transition game. They really like to run up and down the court.”
Last season, Cornell was able to defeat the Bison at home, 68-62. However, 66 of the Red’s points were scored by players that are no longer on the roster.
Like Cornell, the Bison also graduated their star player from a year ago, forward Desire Almind. Almind put together a double-double against the Red last season, collecting a game high 18 points and 13 rebounds.This time around, Cornell will not turn its entire defensive focus towards one player. Since Smith did not receive the game film on the Bison until yesterday, the team has focused most of its practice time on Bucknell’s system and not on its individual players.
However, some attention must be paid to sophomore guard Lindsey Hollobaugh, the Bison’s leading scorer. She scored 13 points in the team’s last game against the Aggies. Keeping her contained may be the key to victory.
“We are excited to get back out there,” Smith said. “We learned a lot from this weekend. The more opportunities we get to play, the more we are going to learn about our team.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer