November 24, 2008

Red Loses Handle on IUPUI’s Post Players in Second Half

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Prior to Saturday’s game against IUPUI, it had been four years since senior captain Lacey Workman played a game of basketball in her home state of Indiana. The last time she played in the Hoosier state, Workman helped lead Ben Davis High to a sectional championship. Less than a year removed from the Ivy championship, Workman and the Red lost to IUPUI 66-57 in her bittersweet homecoming.
Cornell (1-2) got out to a quick start, connecting on its first four shots during a nine-point run after falling behind 4-0. The Jaguars (3-1) mounted a quick comeback, taking a 10-9 lead before exchanging the lead twice more until the Red finally held 15-13 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half.
A jumper from IUPUI senior forward Jerrisha Cann tied the game at 15-15 before a layup from junior center Julia Whitted gave the Jaguars the lead — a lead that would not be relinquished. After exchanging the lead six times in the first 10 minutes, the final 30 minutes belonged entirely to the Jaguars, led by Cann and Whitted in the paint.
“They’re the two leading scorers on the team, and one is 6-5 and one is 5-10 and they’re two of the most athletic players we’ll see this year,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “They’re two very different players, and I thought we did a pretty good job of containing both of them in the first half — in particular Cann. She averages 18 and 10.”
In the first half, the Red held Cann to just six points. But with nine more in the second stanza, Cann — IUPUI’s all-time leading rebounder — finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jaguars in both categories.
“We held Cann in the first half, but in the second half you could tell she turned it up a notch,” Smith said. “I also thought we played some pretty poor defense against Whitted. We knew exactly what we needed to do against her, despite her size. We wanted to work on positioning prior to the catch — we didn’t do that, we got caught watching.”
The Red watched as the 6-5 Whitted pulled down a dozen boards to match Cann, while adding 13 points for the Jags.
“We were trying to defend her once she caught it, and anytime you defend somebody that big, you’re really not going to be very effective if that’s how you’re going to play defense,” Smith said.
Still, the Red stayed in the game, closing out the first half with a 10-1 run to pull within two points going into the intermission with the score at 31-29. The Jaguars outscored the Red 35-28 in the second half, though.[img_assist|nid=33846|title=Steppin’ up|desc=Junior Allie Fedorowicz, who has turned it on for the Red, matched her season points average —14 — against IUPUI.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Early on we were establishing a little bit more of a transition game and getting more post touches inside,” Smith said. “In the second half we got away from ourselves — we took some poor shots and were launching a lot of 3s. The forwards weren’t being as aggressive and we didn’t have a whole lot of balance, and they were able to start flying out on 3-point shooters.”
In the first half, the Red shot 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from behind the arch. In the second half, those figures dropped to 24 and 23 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the Jags shot only 40 percent from the field in the first and 38 percent in the second. The rebound battle was also close, ending up 37-36 in IUPUI’s favor.
Where IUPUI noticeably outdid the Red was from the foul line. The Jags attempted 32 free throws compared to the Red’s 18 attempts. The Jags converted 21 of those attempts while the red hit 15. While the offense struggled, the Red could not get set on the defensive end.
“We weren’t getting anything clicking on the offensive end, so they were getting things in transition,” Smith said. “We weren’t putting the ball in the basket, so we weren’t able to set up our defense.”
IUPUI started the second half with a 13-4 run to go ahead 44-33, taking it’s biggest lead of the game. The Jags cruised through the rest of the game eventually winning 66-57.
“They got us — we’re not at the top of our game, and we’re going to have to learn from it,” Smith said.
For the Red, junior captain Lauren Benson set the pace with 19 points. Junior Allie Fedorowicz added 14 points and a team-high three assists, and senior captain and Sun columnist Shannon Scarselletta grabbed a team-high eight rebounds to go with her 11 points.
The Red will be back in action tonight at Newman Arena against the Terriers of St. Francis (0-2). The Terriers will offer the Red a change of pace, relying on the backcourt as apposed to the frontcourt-heavy IUPUI team.
“St. Francis is a little different — they’re leading scorer is a guard, although they do have a 6-7 and a 6-4 forward tandem,” Smith said. “It’s good practice for us – we have some teams in the Ivy that are like that.”
Against St. Francis, the game plan will focus on guard Kara Ayers, a 5-9 senior. Last year, Ayers was the teams second-leading scorer and rebounder — behind a graduating senior in both categories. After two games, the New Jersey native is averaging a team-best 17 points per game. 5-11 sophomore Kristin Leitheuser is also off to a good start with 14.5 points and 8 rebounds per game.
“We’re going to have to tweak a couple of things [against St. Francis], but more importantly we’ll need to focus on following the game plan,” Smith said. “We did it during practice, and then we have a successful first half [against IUPUI]. Then we go out and decide that we don’t want to execute the game plan and we lose the game — so we’re just going to have to focus a little bit more, play a little bit tougher, play a little bit smarter.”