February 16, 2011

Women’s Basketball Looks to Snap Skid Against Harvard, Dartmouth

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The women’s basketball team will look to snap its five-game losing streak against its road opponents this weekend, Harvard and Dartmouth. The Red’s last win came against the Green on Jan. 29.The Cornell women’s basketball team will travel to Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 19 looking to reverse its five-game losing streak. Both games will start at 7 p.m.

On the weekend of Jan. 29-30, Cornell defeated Dartmouth (5-16, 1-6 Ivy League), 66-55, before losing to Harvard (13-8, 5-2), 67-36. The Red has struggled this season with weak, inconsistent offense and has had trouble dealing with playing back-to-back games.

This season has been difficult for the Red’s young roster; the team has struggled to maintain its play throughout the game, often faltering for minutes at a time and slumping in the second half.  Having a younger team, with just one senior and two juniors, has rendered Cornell unaccustomed to the grueling Ivy League conference schedule.

“There is a lack of experience issue, the team is still learning what it means to play 40 minutes of basketball on a back-to-back Ivy League weekend” said head coach Dayna Smith.

Yet the Red has shown that it is capable of maintaining its intensity throughout the game, pulling out a 66-55 win against Dartmouth by scoring 41 points in the second half on an overall 42-percent shooting night from the floor. Freshman guard Allyson Dimagno, who leads the team in rebounding (5.7), led all scorers with 20 points, with four scorers in double-figures.

“Everyone was really into the game, we were getting up and down the court quickly and you could tell we were going to get that win the way were coming together as a unit. We really used our transition offense to build up a lead,” Dimagno said.

That same energy and cohesiveness was severely lacking in the following game against the Crimson. Showcasing its fatigue, the Red had a record low field goal percentage of 23 compared with Harvard’s 46 percent.

“One of the biggest problems last time against Harvard was coming off of a great win against Dartmouth the night before, so we didn’t come out with the same energy and desire against Harvard,” said sophomore forward Taylor Flynn.

“[Harvard has] very good role players on the team, each player has a specific job to do and they all do it well, they seem almost interconnected,” Flynn added.

This season, Harvard has four players who are averaging double-figures. The Crimson has exhibited strong offensive play all season, winning five straight conference games before falling in the last two games to Yale and Brown.

Dartmouth has suffered a major setback this season after its high scorer Brittney Smith was injured in December. The Green lost its last two games to Brown and Yale and will play Columbia before it hosts Cornell this weekend.

Cornell has worked on improving both its offense and consistency during the 40-minute game and is feeling more prepared to take on Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend.

“We know what kind of team we are and we know how we can beat Harvard, we need to dig down deep and try to get to the fire,” Flynn said.

The team’s endurance though back-to-back games will then be tested against Dartmouth, since Cornell has previously beaten the Green.

“We haven’t put together a solid weekend yet as far as 40 minutes of energy [in] both games … we have addressed it and hopefully we can fix it this weekend,” Dimagno said.

Original Author: Nicole Wagner