After losing to Princeton and Penn last weekend and slipping into fifth place in the race for an Ivy League Championship, the women’s basketball team will return to action on the road against Harvard and Dartmouth, in what head coach Dayna Smith believes will be the most challenging weekend of the season.Cornell (10-8, 2-2 Ivy) will look to bounce back after shooting less than 40 percent from the field and being outrebounded against Princeton and Penn.According to Smith, the Red will need to focus on getting back to basics if it wants to secure a winning record at Harvard and Dartmouth.“This weekend is going to be more about us [and] what we’re capable of doing,” she said.The Harvard Crimson (12-6, 3-1) enters the contest on Friday as winners of five of its last six games, including a road sweep of Ivy opponents Yale and Brown last weekend. The Crimson averages just under 70 points per game and boasts nine players over six feet tall.“They’re tall and they’re long,” Smith said. “They have very good upperclassmen leadership.”Junior guard Christine Clarke and senior forward Victoria Lippert lead the team with 16.7 and 12.1 points per game, respectively. The Crimson also has a weapon in 6’4” sophomore forward Temi Fagbenle, who scored twenty points against Yale on Friday.“[Fagbenle] posses a different type of skill-set than most people in the league,” Smith said.Harvard keeps other teams on their feet with a balanced attack of shooting and post-play.“They pretty much spread you out,” Smith said. “If you focus so much on the perimeter game …. they can pound the ball inside.”The Red has never won in Cambridge and it has dropped its last nine contests against Harvard for an all-time record of 11-57.After playing the Crimson, the Red will head to New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth (5-13, 3-1), a young, talented team that has been hot of late.The Green is led by senior guard Faziah Steen who averages 12.1 points per game. Behind Steen is cast of mostly freshmen and sophomores.“[They have a lot of] young players starting to learn the system,” Smith said.After beginning the season 2-12, the Green has won three of its last four games and is currently tied with Harvard for second place in the Ivy League.Dartmouth plays an aggressive offense, taking control of opportunities to push in transition and drive the ball to the hoop.“They try to destroy help and create penetration lanes and isolation in the post,” Smith said. Although Dartmouth holds an all-time record of 53-13 against Cornell, the series has been more competitive recently. The Red has won five of the last 11 matchups with the Green.The Red will spend the remainder of the week preparing for its opportunity to knock off two talented teams on the road.
Original Author: Skyler Dale