January 31, 2005

Women's Basketball Drops Two

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The women’s basketball team entered the weekend excited and optimistic about turning around its currently disappointing season. But after two losses to rivals Harvard and Dartmouth by a combined 60 points, the Red slipped to 0-4 in conference play and effectively knocked itself out of Ivy League contention. The Green and the Crimson improved to 3-0 and 2-1 on the season, respectively.

“It’s difficult,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We had a tough weekend. We played two tough teams in the conference. We thought we could make it a little closer with them. Both teams played terrific team basketball.”

Against Harvard, the Red kept the game close for much of the first half. Freshman Lindsay Krasna sunk her first three shots to give the Red an early 6-4 lead. But, the Crimson answered with 13 straight points and held a 26-17 advantage with just minutes to go in the half.

Cornell did not let the 11-point deficit damper its hopes and clawed back with two straight three pointers from freshman Gretchen Gregg to cut the Crimson’s lead to five.

But Harvard answered yet again, and broke it open with a 21-6 run to go in front 48-31 with under 14 minutes left in regulation. Cornell would get no closer than 12 in the second half, losing by a final score of, 78-51.

Cornell’s achilles heel in the second half was its careless mishandling of the basketball. It could not withstand its own costly turnovers, committing 27 in total. The Red was led by a team-high 19 points from Krasna and 11 from sophomore Claire Perry. Sophomore Amy Lyon added six points and six boards as well.

The Crimson was paced by a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds from senior Reka Cserny, improving her scoring average to 21.5 per game. In addition to Cserny’s double-double, junior Kate Mannering tied a career-best with 18 points. As a team, Harvard shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and held Cornell to 34 percent shooting.

“The first night against Harvard, they just pounded the ball inside to [Cserny],” Smith said. “We tried to double her and it just wasn’t very effective.”

After Friday’s crushing loss, the Red traveled to Hanover to face Dartmouth on Saturday. Unfortunately for the team, it could not recover from the previous defeat, as the Green dominated from the outset and cruised to a 90-67 victory. The Red fell to 0-5 on its current seven-game road trip.

While the Red expected a heavy dose of Dartmouth guard Jeannie Cullen, the star junior did not start and played only 22 minutes, netting 15 points. However, classmate Angie Soriaga did start the game and connected on her first seven shot attempts — five of which were three’s — and scored 17 first half points en route to a game-high, 19. She also added eight assists.

As a team, the Green shot nearly 58 percent from the floor in the opening half, including an impressive 9-13 from three-point land. Its balanced offensive attack produced four scorers with at least 15 points, including Cullen, Soriaga, sophomore Elise Morrison and freshman Sydney Scott.

“Dartmouth is just so well balanced,” Smith said. “They have probably the best post-player in the league in Elise Morrison. We were just outplayed in all aspects of the game.”

Lyon scored a team-high 18 points for the Red and Perry added 14. Sophomore Katherine Stritzl and Krasna tallied six points each. Krasna also dished out a career-high eight assists.

“We are going to have to try to improve in all aspects of the game,” Smith said. “We did a little better on the offensive end. We need to focus on getting back to our aggressive, scrappy style of defense. We kind of lacked that this weekend. [The team] is eager to get back at it and work a little harder and take another crack at it next weekend.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer