Ivy Respectability in Balance Against N.Y. Foes

by Morgan Cain | 2/22/02 6:00am

Traveling to New York this weekend, the Dartmouth women's basketball team (7-15, 3-6 Ivy) looks to begin to jump up three spots in the Ivy League standings. It won't be easy though, for the women in green have to defeat two difficult opponents who came into Leede Arena and handed the Big Green two tough losses earlier in the season.

Their opponents, Cornell and Columbia, both have a lot at stake this weekend as well. Cornell is looking to wrap up an Ivy League title, while Columbia is trying to prevent Dartmouth from jumping over it in the standings.

Tonight, against Columbia, Dartmouth is looking to focus on the Lions' big 6-4 center Edytte Key. Key, though only a freshman, has been tearing up the league as of late.

"This weekend we are going to focus on our perimeter defense. We gave up a lot of threes against both teams and have been working on tightening up our defense," forward Katie Skelly '03 said.

"We also have been working on our press, because neither team likes to be pressed, and it seems to be very effective. We also have focused on post defense for the Columbia game to shut down their 6-4 center. On the offensive end, we are looking to stay spread to create opportunities for the drive."

The Lions are also led by Susan and Patricia Kern, sisters averaging about nine points a game along with Key. They currently stand at 11-11 overall and have been playing up and down basketball all year.

If Dartmouth can contain the Kern sisters and Key, it can also hope for a possible off-night for the Lions. If all goes according to plan, the Big Green can certainly a win.

Saturday is a completely different story. The Big Green will stroll into Ithaca to face perhaps the most exciting, not to mention excited, team in the Ivy League.

Cornell plays league-leading Harvard -- a team that is a half-game up on the Big Red -- Friday night in Ithaca, and a Cornell victory would set the campus on its ears. Should Dartmouth go into Do Stevens' gym and try and stop her after a rousing win over the Crimson, the Big Green women will face their toughest challenge of the year.

"This weekend is going to be huge for us. We are not giving up on the season and the next five games is the difference between sixth place and third," guard Keri Downs '03 said.

"We are working on a new defense and have practiced well this past week. It's all in our hands. We just have to leave everything on the court and put [forth] 40 minutes of basketball."

Against two Ivy rivals, getting up for the games shouldn't be a problem.

Dartmouth has a long way to go, mileage-wise, to get to the venues it plays in this weekend. However, once the team gets there, it will have another journey to begin as well: one that brings it up the standings.