March 3, 2010

W. Basketball Looks to End Season on Good Note

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The women’s basketball team will face off against Brown (7-19, 4-8 Ivy) and Yale (12-14, 7-5 Ivy) for the last time this season on Friday and Saturday night at Newman Arena.Looking back to last season, the Red (7-18, 2-10 Ivy) concluded its 2008-09 campaign with back-to-back wins over these two teams.

However, this season saw Cornell fall to both the Bears and Bulldogs by scores of 61-54 and 74-50, respectively. Sophomore guard Hannah Passafuime has been a rising threat for Brown, scoring 15 points against Dartmouth and 14 against Harvard. Furthermore, senior forward Natalie Bonds notched her third double-double against Penn.

“Our guard core must defend Brown’s initial penetration and their drives in transition. Brown likes to take it to the hoop and we must do a better job playing team defense and keeping them out of the lane on drives,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “However, it will take a group effort to shut down Bonds.”

“I think Claire has been playing better as of late. If she goes into this weekend with poise and understanding of how Brown and Yale defend in the post, I think Claire could be very productive in the scoring column,” Smith said.

“It’s definitely going to be different this time, as we’ve re-strategized. It’s a whole different squad as we’re more familiar with their strengths, as well as their weaknesses,” added freshman guard Taylor Flynn. “We’ve reviewed and analyzed videos and this time it’s going to be a whole new game.”

Yale, on the other hand, has been performing well this season, rolling down the court with what Smith labeled as “balance.” In this season’s previous matchup between the Red and Bulldogs, three Yale players scored eight points each, and junior forward Mady Gobrech led her team with 13 points.

Senior forward/guard Melissa Corborne is also expected to pose a threat, as she has recorded 1000+ career points with 20+ points in five different games.

Cornell is led by senior tri-captains Virginia McMunigal, Allie Fedorwicz, who has scored 849 career points and is ranked second in Cornell history for 3-pointers, and senior guard Lauren “Ironwoman” Benson, who owns the career assist record and is the only player in program history to tally 700 points, 500 assists, 300 rebounds and 100 steals.

“We lost our game at Yale earlier this season because we came out flat and Yale was aggressive,” Smith said. “Yale’s strength this year, as I’ve said before, is balance. They score inside and out and do not rely on one player to carry the load, as they have in the past with Colborne.

“If we are to compete against Yale, we need to be more aggressive on both ends of the court. We will need to play team defense, stop their inside-out game and contain their 3-point shooters in order to compete for the win.”“In the Penn game, there wasn’t a single spectacular player with one scoring more than the other. We all scored really evenly and had a solid game,” Flynn added. “If we can bring what we brought to Penn, we’ll be more than ready for this game.”

Original Author: Vincent Dang