February 23, 2007

W. Cagers Host Last Ivy Foes

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While the women’s basketball team essentially needs to win out to have a chance of grabbing the Ivy crown, the Red are looking past simple placement as its goals for this weekend’s showdowns with Yale and Brown.

“In the overall scheme of things, we do have to win both to stay in race, but we are not looking at these games for only those reasons,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “There are some team goals we’re trying to accomplish. We would like to have a winning record at home … stay in the top-2 or top-3 all the way down the stretch — that would be nice. We’re not looking to set marks but to have one of the better Ivy seasons of all-time would be nice.”

The other mark the Red (10-13, 6-4 Ivy) is approaching is 11 overall wins, which would surpass Smith’s highest total in her fifth year as coach. First, however, Smith says the most important item in the here-and-now is to show Yale (11-13, 4-6) the real character of the team tonight.
[img_assist|nid=21626|title=Forceful like Napoleon’s army|desc=unior Moina Snyder plows through a Princeton defender in the Red’s 69-66 win last Friday.|link=none|align=left|width=66|height=100]

“Yale took it to us the first game,” she said. “They were much more aggressive and fiery. We want to show them what we are about.”

In the Red’s last meeting with the Bulldogs, Yale was the more aggressive team, out-rebounding the Red 22-8 in the first half alone, and pushing the Red around in the paint all night, pouring in 36 tallies in the lane to Cornell’s 14. Erica Davis led the charge with a near triple-double, recording 25 points, 13 boards and nine blocks.

“I’m going to be honest she played about as well as she could have,” Smith said. “She was rebounding, blocking, scoring, everything. Our forwards weren’t able to execute our game plan. We’ll stay with a lot of our game plan, though. It was more how we were positioned in the post when they had the ball on the perimeter.”

The Red, meanwhile, saw only one player reach double figures — freshman Allie Fedorowicz with 10 — and found the rim on most shot attempts, connecting on only 26 percent of its shots.

“We missed a lot of open layups and just missed a lot of shots,” Smith said. “We also had a huge amount of turnovers. … They’re a very feisty team on the perimeter. … We’ll have to have better spacing and timing on our offense. It’s nothing brand new, but we just have to take care of the ball.”

While Cornell has had a track record of playing well on Friday nights during its Ivy schedule, the same cannot be said for Saturday, with most of its conference losses coming on the back end of these back-to-back affairs. With Brown (4-20, 2-8) coming to town tomorrow night, the Red must make sure it maintains energy and focus, according to Smith.

“We have to focus for 80 minutes, it’s not just one game a weekend,” Smith said. “Saturday, we’ve just not been as aggressive as Friday. Everyone has to get up. We need better production from everyone. It has to be a team effort.”

Part of the drop off in energy is due to the physical strain, but some is due to the difficulty of adjusting to a different brand of basketball.

“Each team has a different style of play and how we respond on a Saturday has been key,” Smith said. “Yale is an aggressive, in-your-face, man-to-man team with tall forwards that they like to utilize. Brown is more athletic, and they try to run the floor and like to play some zone defense. They are two totally different teams. The common thread is us. We can’t get so consumed in the different styles of play. You prepare for the defense and what we have to defend on offense, but we just have to take care of the ball.”

The Red’s last outing against the Bears was a successful, 68-59 victory, with junior Moina Snyder and sophomore Jeomi Maduka both shining for Cornell. Snyder had a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Maduka netted 17 points and eight boards. Unlike against Yale, the team’s defense was able to contain the Bears go-to option on offense, Ashley King-Bischof, who put in only seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. After building a large lead, Brown was only able to make the game a contest with an effective full-court press late in the game.

“We have to take care of the ball,” Smith said.

Senior tri-captain Claire Perry will be honored after the game Saturday night as the team’s lone senior.