March 2, 2007

W. Basketball Looks to End Season on High Note

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With just one weekend left in its season, the women’s basketball team will get two chances to make history.

Playing on the road at Harvard (12-12, 10-1 Ivy) tonight and Dartmouth (13-12, 7-4) tomorrow, the Red (12-13, 8-4) needs just one more victory to clinch its best Ivy League record in program history.

“We’re excited to leave our imprint on Cornell basketball,” said senior tri-captain Claire Perry. “Looking back in a few years, it’s going to be great to be able think about being part of this team that acomplished so much.”
[img_assist|nid=21798|title=Dribble drive.|desc=Junior Lindsay Krasna (44), a Sun staff writer, drives toward the hoop during Cornell’s 59-55 win over Yale on Feb. 3.|link=node|align=left|width=66|height=100]

Getting that one win, however, could prove to be quite a challenge. Cornell has already lost to both the Green and Crimson earlier this season at home.

“The losses from before do come to mind. You highlight the date and get excited to get another shot at these teams,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “You know what to expect and are able to make adjustments from before.”

Meanwhile, like Cornell, both opponents should also have plenty of motivation heading into this final weekend.

Currently, Harvard owns a two and a half-game lead in the conference, has already clinched a share of the Ivy crown and needs just one more win to clinch the outright title. At the same time, both Cornell and Dartmouth still have outside shots at earning part of the championship if either can win the rest of its games while the Crimson loses all three of its remaining contests.

To take care of business tonight in Cambridge, Cornell will have to shut down Harvard’s balanced and high-powered offense. Led by Emily Tay (13.2 ppg) and Lindsay Hallion (12.3 ppg), the Crimson leads the Ivy League in team offense with 67.7 points per game.

The Red will also need to watch out for bench players like Harvard center Emma Moretzsohn, who burned Cornell for 18 points and 13 rebounds in the two teams’ first meeting this season. In that game, Harvard opened up the scoring with a 6-0 run and led wire-to-wire to take the 71-57 victory.
Cornell did manage several comeback efforts — most notably cutting the deficit to just five points with three minutes to play — but were done in by a 36.7 percent shooting performance from the floor. Sophomores Kayleen Fitzsimmons and Jeomi Maduka led the Red with 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the losing cause.

Whereas Cornell played from behind during entire first game against Harvard, it looked like it was going to do the opposite to Dartmouth when the two teams played earlier this seasons. However, a late second-half run by the Green helped it to a 60-56 decision.

Starting off that game, Cornell grabbed an 11-2 lead and maintained that advantage for most of the first half, heading into the break up, 33-26. That lead would grow in the second-half as the Red went ahead by 12 points, 51-39, with just eight minutes to play. However, closing with a 21-5 run, the Green eeked out the win to give Cornell its fist conference loss of the season.

Ashley Taylor, the Ivy League’s second-leading scorer with 17.5 points per game, scored 16 points to lead Dartmouth in that contest. Cornell will also have to be wary of the Green’s Korren Schram — 11.4 points per game and league leader in 3-pointers per game — as well as Sydney Scott — 8.0 rebounds per game — this time around.

After earning a pair of close victories over Yale, 59-55, and Brown, 41-36, at home last week, Cornell should have plenty of momentum heading into this road trip. Nevertheless, facing a pair of tough competitors and playing with plenty of emotion as it says goodbye to Perry, the Red should have plenty to deal with as it tries to end its season on a high note.

“We going to do whatever it takes to win,” Perry said. “We want to get that win and be known as the team with the best [Ivy League] record ever.”