January 19, 2006
Depending on how one looks at it, the women’s basketball team either been very successful or sporadically successful.
The good news is that little more than halfway through the 2005-2006 campaign, the team has surpassed its win total from all of last season, reaching its fourth notch in the win column last Friday against Ivy-rival Penn. And in its last game, the Red scored 80 points.
The bad news is that the team is 4-11, and lost the game in which it scored 80 points, 94-80, to Princeton.
But regardless of how one looks at it, the Red believes it is improving.
“We have been playing some pretty good basketball,” said head coach Dayna Smith.
Led by sophomore Lindsay Krasna and rookie Jeomi Maduka, the team got its second win of the season against Army on December 2nd, 64-61.
A loss to Marist (68-53), in which the Red’s 53 points scored was the lowest total since its opening game, caused the squad to focus on picking up its offensive output.
It has done just that, averaging 64.4 points per game since then, and is currently tied for third in the Ivy League in points scored per game.
In the following contest, the women beat Colgate (76-69) for the Red’s first road victory in more than a year. Maduka had a double-double (22 points, 10 rebounds), and would go on to win her second of four Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards this season.
However, hard times would soon follow. The Red lost five straight games to Bucknell (62-57), Syracuse (70-69), Texas-Arlington (75-57), Texas Christian (74-52), and Binghamton (75-60). Those games, however, would help the Red earn its next victory – its most important of the season.
“The Bucknell and Syracuse games both came down to the last possessions,” Smith said. “We had leads in both of those games and we didn’t hold on for the win.”
Smith liked the physical and aggressive basketball her team played in those two games despite the losses. And after traveling to Texas and taking on an “excellent basketball program” in Texas Christian, and a solid program in Texas-Arlington, Smith says the team learned it could run with anyone.
“We learned we could compete with up-tempo teams,” she said.
After a loss to Binghamton, the last non-conference game of the season, in which the first half had six lead changes and the Red made a late comeback attempt, the team showed some character.
With each loss came another lesson, and those lessons came together to help the Red in its next game against Penn. It was the Red’s opening game in Ivy League play, and the team defended its home court well with a 64-51 win.
“[It] was a really big victory for us,” Smith said. “We did a tremendous job competing with their inside game.”
Team defense was the key against the Quakers, but it would be absent in the Red’s next contest against Princeton. The Red scored 80 points, a season high, but gave up 94 points to the Tigers.
For her performances against Penn and Princeton, freshman Kayleen Fitzsimmons earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week. She scored 12 points, had five assists, and two steals against the Quakers, and 10 points and five assists while battling the Tigers.
“We actually did some nice things we haven’t done all year, which was nice,” Smith said. But the coach also knows that a loss is a loss, that giving up 94 points is unacceptable, and that there is still much work to be done.
“We still need to learn how to get the ball inside to [freshman] Jeomi [Maduka]. We also need to learn how to play better team defense,” she said.
The Red currently allows the most points per game of any Ivy League team, and is ranked sixth in field goal percentage allowed out of all the Ancient Eight teams.
Archived article by Josh PerlinSun Staff Writer