After falling to Cornell last weekend in a 68-54 loss in Ithaca, N.Y., the women’s basketball team (2-13, 0-1 Ivy) will have another shot at its conference rival Saturday at home. Although the Big Red dominated the second half of last week’s matchup, the Lions plan to use the lessons learned from the loss to make some changes this time around.
Head coach Paul Nixon said that playing Cornell again so soon will have its advantages for the Lions.
“I think it gives us an opportunity to make some immediate adjustments and to work on some things that we can change that will help dictate the outcome, but also it certainly feels much better to have the second meeting at Columbia,” he said.
While the Lions fell by a significant 14-point margin in their first matchup against Cornell, they will look to build upon a strong first-half performance that led them into intermission tied 37-37 with the Big Red. The Light Blue ultimately fell short in the second half after it failed to match Cornell’s impressive offensive production. Returning to their home court, Nixon said, will give the Lions a decided improvement in their shooting consistency.
“I am very confident that the team is going to shoot well at home,” he said. “We do tend to play with a little more confidence at home, and I think that definitely carries over to every area of the game, and especially shooting.”
The Lions will also have to find a way to counter the commanding presence of Cornell’s frontcourt players. Last week, starting forwards Clare Fitzpatrick and Allyson DiMagno each saw around 30 minutes of play time and combined for 33 points.
“There’s no question that if you are going to beat Cornell, you have to do a better job of defending players like Allyson DiMagno than we did in the first meeting,” Nixon said.
While facing the same team that soundly defeated them just a week ago may seem like a trying mental obstacle for the Lions, senior guard and co-captain Brittany Simmons said that the Light Blue will preserve a winning mentality going onto the court against the Big Red in front of its home crowd.
“Looking at the first game, it’s disappointing, as always, to lose, but Coach said every game, it’s a little pattern: We go up there, and we lose, and we come back, and we rout Cornell,” Simmons said. “That’s the mentality. We don’t want to just win. We want to win big so we can prove to everyone in the league that we are for real because it’s not enough to play well in this league. You have to win.”
Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium.