February 25, 2005

Red Meets Penn

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The women’s basketball team has lost eleven games in a row, with its last win coming against Binghamton on January 10th. Eight of those losses have come against Ivy League competition, as the Red’s league record has dropped to 0-10 for the season. However, the team came closest to capturing a victory at home two weeks ago against Penn. With only four games remaining on its schedule, Cornell’s opportunities to earn a conference victory are dwindling. Its best shot may be tomorrow when the Red travels to Philadelphia to face the Quakers (13-10. 6-4 Ivy League).

In the last meeting between the two squads, Cornell trailed Penn by as many as 16 early in the second half. But, the team fought back to cut the lead to one with only 2.4 seconds remaining. The Red inbounded the ball to freshman Morgan Dickens just outside of the right elbow, who put up what would have been the game-winning basket. Unfortunately for Cornell, the shot hit the front rim, leaving the Red with a heart-breaking defeat.

“It was a very intense game,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We got tons of great looks and we didn’t hit some of them and that has been our problem all season.”

If it is going to overcome the Quakers this time around, Cornell will need to mirror its effort from the first meeting. In that game, the Red committed a season-low 10 turnovers, receiving outstanding guard play, highlighted by sophomore Katherine Stritzl’s game-high 15 points. Freshman Linsday Krasna also played one of her best games, tallying 15 points, six rebounds, and a game-high five assists.

One thing the Red will have to improve upon in the second go-around is its play on the glass. While the Red limited Penn to 51 points and only 30.6 percent shooting, junior Jennifer Fleischer proved difficult to stop, scoring 13 points and adding an astonishing 21 rebounds. As a team, the Quakers hauled in 50 rebounds to Cornell’s 36, including 20 on the offensive glass.

“We don’t have anyone who can match up against [Fleischer],” Smith said. “In the second half, we did a better job at pushing her back and limiting the second-chance points. This week, we focused on getting a body on someone and boxing out and pushing back. Our guards need to be more active in the rebounding area.”

Before its matchup with Penn tomorrow, the Red can not afford to look past tonight’s opponent, Princeton (12-11, 4-6 Ivy). In the team’s first meeting, the Tigers withstood a late Cornell rally to hold on for a 78-74 victory. The Red’s 74 points was its highest total of the season, as four of its players reached double-digits. Krasna and sophomore Amy Lyon led the charge with 17 points apiece.

However, yet again, the Red could not match Princeton’s presence on the inside, as junior Becky Brown netted 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

“We got sealed a lot and we were playing a little too much man to man,” Smith said. “We need to play help defense to contain [Brown] and maybe trap a little. When we play one-on-one we don’t have anyone that contain her so it is going to have to be a team effort.”

If it is going to snap its losing streak, the Red will have to play more cohesively on both ends of the floor and, above all, it must contain a star forward on back-to-back nights.

“I think both games last time were very competitive,” Smith said. “We took care of the ball and shot pretty well. We even played pretty decent defense against [Fleischer and Brown] in the second half. We need to be in more of an attack mode on offense and in our rebounding and try to get Brown and Fleischer in early foul trouble.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer