February 18, 2009

W. Basketball Welcomes Class of 2013

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1,249 high school seniors were accepted to Cornell’s class of 2013 as early-decision applicants in mid-December. Of them, five will join the women’s basketball team next season as the newest members of the Red, including a McDonald’s All-American.
“The recruiting process in the last four to five years has really expanded,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “The process to recruit a freshman is a two, three, four-year process now. The recruits we’ve seen we’ve known about for a few years and we’ve, been corresponding with them. The entire month of July, we’re on the road almost the entire 30 days.”
And the recruiting process still isn’t over for Smith and the rest of her staff. After getting commitments from five athletes during the early decision round of applications, the Red may still add one or two new members in the 2009-10 season.[img_assist|nid=35232|title=Watchful eye|desc=Women’s basketball head coach Dayna Smith looks on intently in front of her bench during a game against Princeton at Newman Arena on Feb. 6. The Red lost the contest to the Tigers, 56-75.|link=node|align=right|width=|height=0]
“For this class, we had known about them for several years,” said Smith. “We might go to a game or follow their AAU teams in the summer, spring and fall. With this class, we got five to commit for early decision. We’re happy with five, but we also have a few other [high school] seniors and junior college players who are interested, and it still may be possible to bring them in.”
But for next season, we can be sure that the following five new faces will be in uniform at Newman Arena: guard/forward Caitlin Costello, forward Kristina Danielak, forward Clare Fitzpatrick, guard Taylor Flynn and guard Spencer Lane.
Lane, who was busy winning a State Championship last year while the Red took home the Ivy League title, will fill a glaring hole that the Red have struggled with this season –– the backup point guard spot. The Red’s starting point guard, junior co-captain Lauren Benson, leads the Ivy League with 36.8 minutes a game.
“Lane is a point guard, very athletic and very explosive –– she probably will be the best defensive guard I’ve coached at Cornell,” said Smith. “She is very tenacious and can pick people up on the full court press. She knows how to make the right pass on the right time. If you have shooters on your team, she’ll be able to get them the ball. I think she’s going to be a huge addition.”
In addition to added depth at the point, the Red will be welcoming in a pair of 6’1” forwards to aid a frontcourt that has missed the presence of seniors Jeomi Maduka and Moina Snyder, ’08.
“Kristina [Danielak] reminds us of Moina at times –– lanky and tall,” said Smith. “She’s not necessarily a very physical player, but she has a smooth athleticism and knows how to get things done and finish. She does things quietly, but then you’ll look at the stat sheet and there might be a double-double consistently. Her and Clare [Fitzpatrick] will be a nice addition to the front court.”
While Danielak resembled Snyder on the court, she may resemble Maduka more on the track –– Danielak is a regional qualifier and school-record holder in the 800-meter relay and 300-meter hurdles.
While Fitzpatrick has not run track in high school, she has run all over the Canterbury School’s record books. She holds the all-time career scoring record with 1,174 points and took only 55 games to break 1,000. Her 43-point career high is also a Canterbury record, although not out of reach for a 20.7 point per night performer.
“Clare is the type of player that will run through a brick wall if you asked her too,” said Smith. “She is a great scorer in high school and has a knack for finishing. Defensively, she just works so hard. She may have a size disadvantage, but she just outworks her opponent. She is the type of worker that we try to bring in every year.”
For the final two recruits, red will not be the first uniform color they will have shared. Costello and Flynn are two Long Island natives who played for the Long Island Lighting AAU team together for six years.
“Caitlin [Costello] is an athletic, really tough, scrappy guard,” said Smith. “She does a lot of the little things –– talks on defense, dives for loose balls. She’s always in the right place at right time for rebounds. She might not be a big time scorer, yet she can score –– but scoring was not the first thing she’s been asked to do in high school. I like her attitude and how she works.”
Her AAU teammate, Flynn, is another guard who does all the right things –– including being labeled a McDonald’s All-American.
“Flynn and Costello actually played AAU together,” said Smith. “Flynn is someone who we think could be a tremendous player at Cornell. She can shoot the ball and has great vision of the court. She makes the players around her better, she is all over the place on defense, she is a smart and knowledge basketball player and she is very committed to the game. She’ll have the opportunity to earn significant playing time next season, and she has the potential to have a great career here at Cornell.”
And aside from Dartmouth’s crushing defense, Caitlin, Kristina, Clare, Taylor and Spencer will have another thing to look forward to next year –– prelims.