By SCOTT CHIUSANO
Coming off a 13-15 finish last year, the women’s basketball team draws a clean slate this Friday in its season opener, beginning the quest for its first above .500 record since 2007, when the Red won the Ivy League. The squad will take on Colgate at home, a perennial instate rival that is notorious for giving the Red a tough game.
“Well we know the game is going to be intense and full of energy. … It’s both team’s season opener, so with that you’re going to get two teams playing their toughest basketball,” said senior guard Stephanie Long. “We expect pressure from Colgate and are prepped to handle it.”
In last season’s opener, the Red escaped Colgate’s home court with a 69-65 victory, but it took a substantial rally down the stretch. Trailing by six with just three minutes left to play, senior forward Allyson DiMagno sparked the Red’s offense by sinking a pair of free throws. Clare Fitzpatrick ’13 followed suit with a basket of her own and after a defensive stop, Fitzpatrick converted on an and-one to put the visitors up by one with just over a minute left. DiMagno scored again on the next possession to cap a 10-0 run, and the Red never looked back, hitting crucial free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. According to DiMagno, the Red can look forward to a similarly hotly contested matchup.
“We are expecting a hard-fought game against a team that we have had several nail biters against in the past,” she said.
Fitzpatrick and point guard Spencer Lane ’13 were the leaders in that game. Fitzpatrick put up 19 points and Lane finished with 13 points and four steals. However, the Red will have to look for other options this season to fill in the void that Fitzpatrick and Lane have left behind.
“Although Clare and Spencer left some holes from graduation, I believe that this team is ready to fill those holes,” DiMagno said. “At this point, it is hard to say that one specific person will be able to completely do what those two did, but it is apparent that this team is willing to come together and replace what we lost.”
DiMagno led the squad in scoring and rebounding last year, averaging a double-double with 14.7 points and 11.5 rebounds. Though she will likely be the Red’s main threat down low, the squad will also look to junior forward Sarah Poland to provide some important support in the paint. At 6-3, Poland is the tallest player on the roster and will provide some much-needed length in the post. As for the point guard position, seniors Shelby Lyman and Long both have experience running the offense. Lyman and Long combined for 12.4 points per game last season and are the Red’s main shooting threats from beyond the arc. Senior Aspen Chandler and sophomore Allison Bockrath will
Michelle Feldman / Staff PhotographerThough the Red was picked to finish sixth in the Ivy League preseason media poll, senior guard Stephanie Long said the Red is poised to prove that prediction wrong.