February 1, 2012

W. BASKETBALL | Ivy Play Set to Begin

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This weekend could be the biggest of the season for Cornell (8-9, 2-1 Ivy League), as the team gears up for not one, but two Ivy League battles. The Red is set to face Harvard (9-8, 2-1) on Friday and Dartmouth (2-15, 0-3) on Saturday, in what is the first time this season that the team will get to host league games.

The Red’s success on the road against Columbia and Penn has given the players the confidence that they will be able to finish out with a successful weekend.

“We have … a majority of returners playing a lot of minutes,” said junior forward Clare Fitzpatrick. “[This weekend] will let the freshmen know what the real Ivy League is like. We’re set to get two wins this weekend.”

The Red has shown improvement in 2012, as the team is currently on a three game winning streak.

“We’ve definitely improved in the last month and a half,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “We had a lot of road games throughout the winter break … We won five of the last seven games, six that were on the road.”

This must be an encouraging statistic for Cornell, as it was unsuccessful in securing a win during every away game last season. According to Fitzpatrick, the team realizes that in order to make it through the league, it will have to focus on playing its style of basketball at every game.

“We do take it game by game … and focus on one opponent at a time,” she said. “[Right now] we just focus on Friday’s game, and right after it’s over, switch gears to Saturday’s game. … Whatever the outcome of Friday, we focus on the game ahead.”

Throughout the season the team has sought constant improvement.

“Earlier in the season, we played some good offense,” Smith said. “We made it a priority at practice so that it would definitely transition to game day. On defence, we continue to get better … working on penetration defense, playing zone a lot … making sure there’s talk, rotating, playing as one unit. We’ve been able to hold opponents to low scoring numbers.”

Original Author: Rebecca Velez