January 27, 2010

W. Cagers Visits Defending Champs

Print More

The women’s basketball team will hit the road this weekend for a set of back-to-back Ivy League matchups. On Friday night, the Red will travel to Hanover, N.H., to take on Dartmouth, and on Saturday night, a talented Harvard team will put Cornell to the test in Cambridge.

Cornell (5-10, 0-2 Ivy) has had a rocky start to its Ivy League games, falling to Columbia twice in the first conference games of the season. However, the Red is looking to these games as a chance to grab its first Ivy win and perhaps earn some redemption.

“We want to prove to ourselves, to our coaches and to the other teams in the league that we can be contenders,” said freshman forward Clare Fitzpatrick. “We’re coming out for a win. And not just one win, we’re going for two wins.”

Head coach Dayna Smith acknowledged that winning would be a wonderful morale boost for her team.

“They’ve been working so hard, and it’s not easy to go through a slump like this,” she said. “We really need a win. … It will do wonders.”

However, the Red will have to be at the top of its game in order to defeat either of its opponents this weekend. Harvard and Dartmouth have won or shared the championship 24 times, and each team boasts a wealth of talented players this season.

“[These teams] have very strong traditions of winning in our league,” said senior captain Virginia McMunigal. “We need to come into each game well prepared and able to match their intensity.

Dartmouth (6-9, 1-0 Ivy) is the defending Ivy League champion, and was picked to finish first yet again this season. The Green is led by junior Brittney Smith, a forward who consistently scores in the double figures and was last season’s Ivy League Player of the Year.

Smith is not the only talented Dartmouth player — the Green boasts many well-rounded athletes that could potentially pose difficulties for the Red.

“Dartmouth is a very good defensive team, and they’re also very good at rebounding,” Smith said. “We need to make sure we limit them offensively.”

In addition, it seems that the Harvard game may prove to be just as difficult as the Dartmouth game. The Crimson (9-6, 0-1 Ivy) may not have been picked to finish first in the Ivy League, but it was chosen as a close second. The team is led by its many talented guards, among them junior Jackie Alemany.

“Harvard has some explosive guards,” Smith said. “They’re a very high powered offensive team.”

Behind a 41.2 field goal percentage and a league-leading 4.7 blocks per game, the Crimson has yet to lose a game at home. The Red, however, is still approaching this weekend’s games with optimism.

“We’re looking at this weekend like we do with any other game,” McMunigal said. “We want to get some wins and do our best to improve.”

“We can contend with all of the Ivy League teams,” Fitzpatrick said. “[Our strength is] the energy that we bring, and all the hard work we do in practice. … We’re starting to make some really good connections.”

Original Author: Hannah Fillas