Entering their last home stand of the year, the Elis hope to double their season’s win total in two games against teams in the bottom half of the Ivy League this weekend.
The Bulldogs (2-21, 1-9 Ivy) play host to Cornell (8-15, 5-5) tonight and take on Columbia (5-18, 1-9) on Saturday. They hope to fare better than they did two weekends ago, when the team traveled to New York and fell by double digits to both teams. Despite their solid all around effort that weekend, fine individual performances on both New York squads lifted them over the struggling Bulldogs.
Cornell’s freshman standout Jeomi Maduka was a force to be reckoned with, tallying a career-high 29 points and pulling in eight rebounds in just 26 minutes of play, and will continue to pose a threat against the Elis this weekend.
“[Maduka] is a quality post player who is a threat off the drive as well,” Ashley Easley ’09 said. “We can expect them to try and get her the ball a lot, so we just need to keep up our defensive intensity and make sure to take away the drive.”
Sophomore guard Lindsay Krasna added 25 points two weeks ago, and the inside-outside duo combined for almost 70 percent of the Big Red’s total points as Cornell rolled to a 79-68 victory.
Columbia relied on a team effort to defeat the Elis, who remain the only team in the league that the Lions have beaten. A series of late second-half spurts in which the Bulldogs seemed unable to keep up allowed Columbia to hold off an unhealthy and road-weary Yale team. Since then, the Lions have lost three straight games, falling by an average of 17 points each contest.
Despite an overall disappointing season, the Bulldogs said they have reason to believe that this weekend will be different.
“Last time we played [both teams], a lot of us were pretty sick,” Kaitlyn Lillemoe ’09 said. “I think being healthy this time around will definitely help our chances.”
Aside from being healthy, the team appreciates the opportunity to play at home this weekend after playing a large number of road games this season.
“It’s nice to be home two weekends in a row,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We haven’t been home this much any time during the year. It’s great not having to get on that bus.”
Gobrecht said she was disappointed with the team’s level of play the last time around, but she said she fully expects the team to come back strong this weekend.
“I think we had played some of our worst basketball that weekend,” Gobrecht said. “We felt those were some potential victories that we let slip away, but we have an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”
The continued solid play of captain Chinenye Okafor ’07 and the emergence of center Erica Davis ’07 have proved to be valuable assets for the Elis. The duo combined for more than half the team’s points and rebounds last Saturday against Harvard.
After this weekend’s homestand, the Elis will finish out the 2005-06 season on the road, traveling to Philadelphia next Friday to face Penn, and to Hanover, N.H., on Saturday to take on Dartmouth.