The women’s basketball team (3-22, 1-11 Ivy) can finally put behind the nightmarish thought of a winless Ivy League season. After capturing its first conference win from Princeton last Saturday, the Red can close out the last two games on its schedule free of the anxiety associated with potentially becoming the first Ivy League team since Columbia in 1998 to go 0-for-the league schedule. Instead, Cornell can focus its efforts on the court and try to extend its winning streak this weekend at Newman Arena against Brown (16-9, 8-4 Ivy) and Yale (5-20, 2-10 Ivy).
“Obviously it feels good to be rewarded with a win,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “But, the way I am looking at it is that going into this weekend, if we execute well and play hard for 40 minutes, we can get a win.”
The last time the Red faced off against these two opponents was in early February, with Cornell losing both contests by double-digit margins. Against Brown, freshman Lindsay Krasna recorded her first career double-double, but it was not enough. The Bears proved to be too strong on the interior, as senior center Holly Robertson tallied a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds — five of which came on the offensive glass.
“[Robertson] is very big and she is able to get great position by backing forwards down,” Smith said. “We allowed her to get any position inside the last time we faced her.”
Along with Robertson, guard Sarah Hayes netted 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and added eight rebounds. Her quick first step made it difficult for Cornell defenders to stay with her.
“I was disappointed how we were unable to contain her in the first game,” Smith said. “We played a little too close and we allowed her to catch and drive to the basket.”
Against Yale, the Red created havoc for the Bulldogs’ guards, forcing 26 turnovers, leading to 19 Cornell points. However, the Red had difficulty stopping Yale’s frontcourt, as center Erica Davis scored a game-high 24 points and dominated on the interior.
“Their post player Erica Davis has been someone who has consistently hurt us,” Smith said. “She is a very strong forward who is athletic and can finish around the basket. We gave her easy baskets in the first game. We need to key in on her.”
Despite turning the ball over eight times, guard Morgan Richards added 18 points for the Bulldogs. She also made a solid contribution on the glass, pulling down eight rebounds.
“Richards does the little things and we need to keep her in check and not let her have a career night against us, which it seems like she does everytime we play them,” Smith said.
Even though the Red had some trouble with both of these squads in February, the Cornell team that will take the floor this weekend has a different make-up than it did earlier this season. Besides the more consistent play of Krasna, freshman Gretchen Gregg has emerged as a solid role player, scoring 14 points in both Ivy League road games last weekend.
Although the Red’s season will end regardless of the outcome this weekend, it has the opportunity to finish the 2005 campaign on a winning streak and gain some confidence and momentum heading into next season.
“I think it would be terrific to end the season on a wining note,” Smith said. “The most important thing is to try to learn from last weekend. We have focused on taking the good and the bad from the losses and learning from them. And we need to learn from a win too. The most important thing this weekend is to learn something and not take a step backward.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer