February 18, 2005

Women's Hoops Looks for First Conference Triumph

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Last weekend, the women’s basketball team (2-19, 0-8 Ivy) put on its best showing of the Ivy League season yet, suffering single-digit losses to Princeton and Penn. The Red needs its learning curve to stay on the upward track, as it hosts league-leading Dartmouth (11-8, 7-0 Ivy) tomorrow and third-place Harvard (13-7, 5-2 Ivy) on Saturday.

“We took a lot from it,” said head coach Dayna Smith in regards to last weekend. “Right now, that’s what it’s all about — learning from it.”

In terms of rebounding, taking care of the ball, and team defense, the Red reached a new level last weekend. Against Penn, the Red shut down the Quakers’ inside game and outscored the fourth-place team in the second half. Smith knows the Red will need to pick up right where it left off in order to play with the Green and the Crimson. In the last weekend series against these teams, the Red were outscored by a combined 60 points.

“We need to come out and play with the type of intensity we’ve shown on the defensive end in the comebacks against Penn and Princeton,” Smith said. “When we play aggressively and use our full-court press, we cause other teams to play an up-tempo game. We need to start out that way and not have to get back in it.”

The opening minutes made all the difference in the first match-up against the Green, when junior Angie Soriaga swished her first seven attempts — including five three-pointers — giving Dartmouth a solid start in its 90-57 victory. Smith knows the team cannot let this happen again.

“We need to take her out of the game as much as possible,” she said. “It was disappointing to allow her so many open shots the last weekend.”

The Green, which is undefeated in league action, has three other players averaging in double figures to back up Soriaga.

“They’re getting stronger and stronger every game,” Smith said. “They’re making it difficult for teams to key in on one thing on the offensive end.”

The Crimson will not give the Red any room to relax as well. In the previous showdown between the two teams, the Crimson cruised to a 78-51 victory behind senior forward Reka Cserny’s 30 points and 10 rebounds.

“The last games were ugly,” Smith said. “We didn’t play as well as we’d like to, or as well as we’re capable of playing.”

The Red has faced other teams with strong inside games since taking on the Crimson, and Smith thinks her players — the tallest of which is 6-1 — have learned to play with the big girls.

“They’re learning we’re gonna have to get a body on people and box out,” she said. “I think they learned that with good positioning, height doesn’t matter. They also saw how important it is for guards to pressure out front.”

It will take a team effort from the Red to shut down the Harvard line-up, which shot 50% from the floor in the teams’ last game.

“They lost a though one to Brown, but they’re still as good as they were two or three weeks ago,” Smith said. “But we’re going into it with nothing to lose.”

The Red has everything to prove, and is ready for its chance to do just that. Seven-time Ivy League rookie of the week Lindsey Krasna leads the way with 12.8 points per game. Sophomore Claire Perry chips in with 10.1 a game, and four other players are averaging between five and 10 points per game.

“Now we’re getting shots we want,” Smith said. “[Sophomores] Amy Lyon and Katherine Stritzl are stepping up in leadership roles. The key word for us is consistency. We’re making huge steps every day, every weekend.”

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer