February 21, 2013

W. BASKETBALL | Red Visits Top-Ranked Penn, Princeton

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The Red looks to bring home two wins when the women’s basketball team faces off against Penn and Princeton this weekend.

Coming off of a loss to Yale and a win against Brown, the Red takes on the top two seeded teams in the Ivy League Conference.

Cornell (11-10, 3-4 Ivy League) will travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on No. 2 Penn (12-9, 5-2) on Friday at 7 p.m and then face off against No. 1 Princeton (16-5, 7-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“We are hungry for wins,” said senior captain and forward Clare Fitzpatrick. “We are looking to come out here and prove that we’re experienced and win close games. We have confidence going in, so I think that is something that will influence the games this weekend.”

The Red experienced a tough loss to Yale last weekend with a final score of 67-58, but then bounced back with a nail-biting victory over Brown on Saturday, 60-58. The squad will have another opportunity to battle both these teams again in the second half of conference play.

According to Fitzpatrick, the team has been working hard individually and collectively to prepare for these two tough games.

“We definitely need a win against Penn, we let them take one away from us here at home,” Fitzpatrick said. “And Princeton is just a hard team, very talented, but we know that we can play with them and we just need to go out there and prove it to ourselves.”

Penn and Princeton both defeated the Red earlier in the season, which enabled them to clinch the top spots in the Ivy League.  The Red was neck-and-neck with Penn in the first half, but lost its momentum in the second and fell to the Quakers, 65-56.  The team then faced Princeton and was unable to stifle the Tigers’ strong offense, losing by a final score of 77-46.

“Just playing together as a unit and believing in each other will definitely help get us through those adverse moments,” said junior guard Allyson DiMagno.  “If we can effectively execute in transition on offense, that will be a huge boost to helping us win the games this weekend.”

According to DiMagno, the Red will continue to strengthen its team defensive and offensive strategy going into the games this weekend. The squad will have to place a large part of its focus on the defensive end on Princeton’s leading scorer Niveen Rasheed. Rasheed is averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and she scored a game-high 21 points against the Red in their last meeting. The rest of the Tigers’ starting lineup is balanced and DiMagno said it will be important to limit all of their scoring opportunities.

“You can’t just shut down one girl, you have to shut down everyone, so it is definitely going to be a team defensive effort and it is going to be a lot of pushing up the defense to keep them off-guard,” DiMagno said.

The Red sits in sixth place in the conference right now, but is only one win behind Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale.

“Two wins this weekend will be huge for us. It would definitely be a confidence booster,” Fitzpatrick said. “We want to finish strong and we have a lot to prove still.”

Original Author: Marissa Velasquez