September 26, 2007

Catching Up With Women's Basketball

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While they don’t officially begin practicing until October 12th, the women’s basketball team has been busy preparing for the upcoming season, both on and off the court.
Currently four weeks into the preseason, the girls spend three days a week on strengthening and conditioning, and two days a week working with coaches. Many players spent the summer in the gym and playing as many pick-up games that they could fit into their schedules.
New to the team and playing basketball in America, freshman Susie Doyle — who hails from Ireland.,
“Everyone’s working really hard,” Doyle said.
Although they haven’t been allowed to have any team practices yet, they’ve been able to practice in small groups together.
“I am starting to recognize how people play,” Doyle said.
The team is also looking towards the Ivy title this year, and is stressing a winning attitude by practicing and preparing to be champions.
“We have to want to win every game,” Smith said.
While many players on the team are leaders, Smith mentioned that they are waiting to see how the season unfolds. However, she mentioned that the juniors on the team possess special leadership abilities.
“[They have a] strong personality on the team as a group,” Smith said.
According to Smith, they have shown themselves to be strong vocal leaders so far.
While the team only lost one senior last year, they also only added two new freshman recruits to its roster.
Because of this, the freshman players aren’t facing huge expectations to fill.
The Red is looking at strong players from last season returning to the court having already improved from over the summer.
Having only played one season at Cornell after transferring last year, senior forward Moina Snyder is returning from an impressive last season.
“She’s a great addition to our team,” said senior forward Megan Hughes. “She’s a great leader.”
While Coach Smith noted that Snyder’s No. 1weakness was strength last season, she said that Snyder was dedicated to training in the off-season. Already, she has been able to notice the impact it has made and that Snyder is coming into the season a stronger and improved player.
Senior Gretchen Gregg is also returning to the court improved and more confident in her playing abilities after spending the summer here in Ithaca.
“She is one of the best pure shooters we’ve had here,” Smith said.
The third returning senior is Hughes, who Smith noted had a great spring season and is returning with a different focus in play and attitude.
“I want to be a more dominant player,” Hughes said . “I want to be a stronger offensive presence.”
Sophomore Lauren Benson also shows promise as a strong returning player.
“She’s a really reliable player … she’s a great team player, and takes control of the ball,” Doyle said.
This summer, Benson attended a point guard camp. Besides focusing on skills for the game, the camp also focused on teaching leadership and skills for off the court.
“[The camp’s] really paid off so far,” Smith said. “She could be more of a scoring threat.”
For now, the team is working hard to prepare themselves for the season, both mentally and physically.
Hughes echoes the team’s winning philosophy.
“Everything you do every day … play like a champion,” Hughes said.