Coming into the 2017-2018 Women’s Basketball season, there were high expectations with a quartet of returning seniors. Through the opening five games, the team is ranked No. 24 in the country.
The women's basketball team separates freshman-seniors by using Baby Bombers, Double Trouble, Mamas and Grandmas.
The season got kicked off with an 83-81 victory against Farleigh Dickenson University. Next up, the Bombers edged out No. 23 ranked Montclair State University 66-56. When the weekly polls came out, Ithaca jumped up to No. 18 in the national rankings.
Over Thanksgiving break the Bombers traveled to California to partake in a tournament. The team was victorious in the first game against Pomona-Pitzer (84-74), before losing to Claremont-Muddscrips College (74-68). The team fell to the current No. 24 ranking, but senior captain Julia Yacovoni tries to not pay attention to where the team is ranked.
Coach Raymond teaching the team a new defense.
“At this point in the season, you can’t really get caught up in that too much because you’ve only played five games,” Yacovoni said. “It is nice to know that other people can see that your team is performing well. At the same time you don’t want to only worry about that and worry about where we are at the end of the season.”
When the Bombers returned home from California, they played arch rival Cortland, beating the Red Dragons 78-58.
Over the past handful of seasons, the Bombers have been one of the most successful programs in the Empire 8. However, this year, the team is new to the Liberty League, and the team is trying to make an impact immediately.
The Bombers meeting at mid-court to go over a new shooting drill.
Last season, the team went 25-4 before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The season before was one of Coach Daniel Raymond’s worst season in his 18 years at the school, finishing with a record of 16-11. In 2014-2015, the team went 23-6 and in 2013-2014, the Bombers may have had its most successful season ever, reaching the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament.
Raymond used to be part of the ranking committee, and admits he doesn’t see value on being ranked.
Coach Raymond looks on as the team attempts to break the press.
“I see no bearing on that,” Raymond said of the ranking system. I was on one of those committees one time that ranked and I know how it goes. You read results from games across the country and you figure ‘Okay, we’ll put this team here and that team there.’
“No, it doesn’t mean anything to me. What I try to share with our students is the only people that really matter what you think about yourselves is yourselves.”
The team is learning a new fastbreak drill called 5 on 4.5.
When a team is ranked, it gives the opposing team a bit of a chip on their shoulder mentality. Because of that, Yacovoni knows the Bombers can’t take their competition lightly, though there is no additional “internal pressure” to perform.
“We know other teams are going to be gunning for us more than they were before because they see our name out there,” she said. “We’re new to the Liberty League, and we saw six of these teams last year, so they want to come out and beat us.”
During a fastbreak drill, sophomore, Cassidy O'Malley drains a three-point attempt.
The Bombers participated in their first Liberty League game on Dec 1., beating Vassar College 69-53. The following day the team won by 49 points against Bard College.
Ithaca will return to action on Dec. 9 when the team travels to New Jersey to face Stevens Institute of Technology, which has a current record of 1-4.