December 1, 2015

Women Prepare for Homestand

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On Wednesday, the women’s basketball team looks to improve on their .500 record by hosting Towson University at home. After traveling to Buffalo and Marshall, Cornell has the opportunity to host three games in a row at home and avenge their two losses.

Towson will come to Newman Arena at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, playing the Red for the first time. Their current record is 2-4, but they have some momentum after beating their last two opponents.

Players to watch are Towson senior guard Dominique Johnson, who has netted over 1,000 points in her career as a Tiger. Other big players are junior guard Raven Bankston and her twin Raine Bankston. That brings a lot of height to the backcourt for the Tigers, with each twin standing at 5’10”. Freshmen guard Sianni Martin is also bringing some height, standing at 5’8” and averaging 14.8 points per game, the third most on the team.

Cornell, despite last week’s losses, have some stars of their own to watch. Starting guards, both juniors, Kerri Moran and Megan LeDuc have been quarterbacking the offense and leading the team defense, something Cornell has been focusing on this season.

“So far we have a few weaknesses on defense that we need to work on,” Moran said. “We are playing some fast, high-paced teams coming up that will help us strengthen our weakness. Our team dynamic is really strong right now. Because most of the starters have played together in the past, we know how each other play and how to work off one another.”

After three full days of practice following their loss last week, the Red is ready to go.

“We aren’t thinking about the past, but instead focusing on what we can learn from those games and how we can get better,” Moran said.

Defensively the challenge for the Big Red will be stopping Towson’s height from penetrating from the perimeter. In the paint, junior forward Nia Marshall, as well as fellow forwards Nicholle Aston and Caroline Shelquist, will have to body up the bigs from Towson, none of whom stand below 6’0”. Both centers for the Tigers are 6’4”, and Marshall, Aston, and Shelquist will have to work overtime to send help to each other down low in the post.

Marshall, who is less than 100 points away from matching Towson senior Dominque Johnson in the 1,000 point club, will have to ask for the ball down low, and take it to the hoop hard to get past Tiger centers Maia Lee and Daijha Thomas. Defensively, Marshall just needs to keep leading the team in steals; she ranks first in the Ivy League with 2.67 steals per game.

The lone senior on the team, Maddie Campbell is the only Big Red besides Astona and Marshall to notch a double double this season. Despite leading the team as a senior, this is only Campbell’s second season with the Big Red, after transferring as a sophomore and spending a season ineligible to play due to NCAA regulations for transfers.

The win against Towson will put the Big Red above .500 to improve their out-of conference record to 4-3. It will also give them momentum to continue with their streak of home games.