Ivy leaders Penn and Princeton take down women's basketball

by Lili Stern | 2/18/19 2:20am

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The women’s basketball team fell to the defending Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers on Saturday night.

by Arya Kadakia / The Dartmouth Staff

Dartmouth women’s basketball dropped both games at home this weekend against the two teams that sit atop the Ivy League standings: the University of Pennsylvania (16-4, 6-1 Ivy) and Princeton University (13-9, 5-2 Ivy). The Big Green drop to 10-11 overall, and 3-5 in conference play.

The Big Green’s tough weekend started on Friday night against Penn, which held a perfect 6-0 Ivy record before losing to Harvard University on Saturday. After hanging with the Quakers in the first quarter, leaving it down 13-12, the Big Green lost its footing in the second. The visitors’ dominant quarter was highlighted by a 13-point unanswered run, from which the Green and White was never able to recover.

 “You take a dip against the best team in the league, and it’s hard to pull yourself out of that,” said head coach Belle Koclanes.

The Big Green played a much better second half, as the Quakers only recorded two more points than the Big Green after the intermission. Part of the reason why Dartmouth, and the rest of the Ivy League, struggle so much with Penn is because of their size. While Penn’s starting guards both stand at 5-foot-10, Dartmouth’s stand 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-5. The Big Green had a hard time penetrating the Quakers’ stout 2-3 zone, as reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year Eleah Parker, standing 6-foot-4 with muscle to boot, holds down the bottom of the zone, closing off the basket from driving small guards. 

“Quite frankly, we’re outmatched by them just from a size standpoint,” Koclanes said. “We knew we needed to create high percentage shots outside of the post area and we needed to knock them down, and we needed more than [Quinones] and [Lippold] to do it.”

Cy Lippold ’19 led the Big Green with 19 points, the home team’s only player to score in double digits. Isalys Quinones ’19 tacked on another seven, along with five rebounds. During the third quarter, Lippold scored seven straight points to cut her team’s deficit from 22 to 15. However, it was not enough — the Big Green lost 60-44.

On Saturday, Dartmouth welcomed the defending Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers, and their head coach Courtney Banghart ’00, to Leede Arena. The Big Green knew they matched up better with Princeton than with Penn both in terms of size and speed, according to Koclanes, and in the first quarter, that came through. Koclanes started Kealy Brown ’19 in place of Annie McKenna ’20, and Brown opened the game with a solid five-point quarter, to go along with Elle Louie ’21’s six points, Quinones’ five points and Lippold’s four. The score at the end of the first period was 20-6, advantage Big Green.

After reigning Ivy League Player of the year Bella Alarie was held to just four points in the first quarter, she returned to the court with an explosive 23-point second, highlighted by a 13-2 Princeton run in which Alarie scored all 13. 

“For their second quarter run, it was transition defense and Bella Alarie that hurt us,” Koclanes said. “She’s carrying their team in every facet: offensively, defensively, guard play, post play, you name it. She’s a remarkable player, so we knew she was gonna get her points.” 

However, the toughest moment of the second quarter for Dartmouth fans was not one of Alarie’s made shots, but one of her misses; as Alarie went in for an open layup, Lippold, standing 14 inches shorter than the towering Alarie, who stands 6-foot-4, surged to try to block her shot and came down shrieking as she twisted her knee. While there is no word of an official diagnosis yet, according to Koclanes, it isn’t looking good for the rest of the senior and team captain’s season. 

However, after Lippold went down, the Big Green displayed a true team effort to stay in the game. Koclanes dipped far into the bench, with 11 different players touching the floor. Two players recorded career-highs, with Brown scoring 14 and Katie Douglas ’22 scoring 11. Quinones led the effort in her co-captain’s absence, coming up with a 15-point fourth quarter en route to a 22-point performance. According to Quinones, it was Lippold’s injury that motivated the Big Green to keep fighting.

“It was just play for Cy,” Quinones said. “If that had happened to anyone on our team, it would’ve been the same message. We all try to play together but sometimes it takes a little extra push to get us to really focus on that. So it was really just try to bring out Cy’s energy on the court, and emulate all the leadership she brings.”

Next weekend, the Big Green will look to sweep Brown University and Yale University at home after splitting with a win over the Bears and a loss to the Bulldogs two weeks ago. These games will mark the beginning of the second round of Ivy League matchups.