Following last weekend’s disappointing road trip to Dartmouth and Harvard, the Cornell women’s basketball team will look to snap its current three-game losing streak when it begins a home stand this weekend.
The Red (5-14, 1-5 Ivy) will host Brown (13-6, 1-5) on Friday and Yale (10-9, 3-3) on Saturday, and will look to turn its season around by shoring up weaknesses on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
A point of focus for the Red in its rebuilding year has been the inconsistency attributed to the youth of team. While there have been games in which the team has played lockdown defense and unselfish flowing offense, the same squad has also lent itself to some painful blowouts.
“We have good moments and we work and fix one issue, but then something else pops up,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “For a young team, that’s our issue: whatever you see us focus in on during the week is what you see us do best during the weekend.”
As always, the Red will depend heavily on sophomore Samantha Widmann and junior Samantha Clement this weekend. However, while Widmann and Clement have already shown themselves to be big-time scorers — with the two currently leading Cornell with 15.2 and 8.8 points per game respectively — it will be the defensive effort which will be much more important heading into the weekend.
“Brown and Yale are both great offensive teams so the defensive aspect [of the game] is going to be very important for us,” Clement said. “We really focus on defense. It’s something that coach harps on quite a bit and it’s something that is really going to benefit us going into this weekend.”
On the offensive end, Smith will likely continue an interesting recent experiment in transitioning Widmann from the guard spot to the frontcourt. The transition has allowed the Red to create mismatches and win the first three games in which the sophomore has played in the forward slot.
“We’ve been talking a lot about balance, inside and outside scoring,” Smith said. “Widmann is just a workhorse. She creates unique matchups, she’s a face-up player, she gets to the room, and has a very quick first step which is hard for teams to defend.”
The Red tips off this Friday at 6 p.m. against Brown and this Saturday at 8 p.m. against Yale at Newman Arena.