Women's basketball kicks off season with home exhibition

by Justin Evans | 11/13/96 6:00am

Their English may have been lacking, but the players on Spartak Prerov, a women's basketball team from the Czech Republic, sure knew how to play the game created and made a success by Americans.

On a road trip that takes them to 10 different campuses in the Northeast, the Czechs spoiled the home opener of the Dartmouth women's team by defeating the Big Green 67-64 in an exhibition game that came down to the closing seconds.

Spartak Prerov's three straight airballs to open the game, and Dartmouth's turnovers indicated opening jitters on both sides. After 18 minutes of slow paced, execution oriented basketball, the game opened up in the final two minutes of the first half.

Down 28-24 with 2:10 left, the court opened up and the ball raced from end to end. By the time it was over, Spartak Prerov had extended its lead to 37-32.

The second half featured more streaky play by both sides. Spartak Prerov opened up an 11 point lead early, but a 10-2 run by Dartmouth closed the margin to just three. On the spree, Nikki Rinaldi '99 made a sweet move to the hoop, cutting outside her defender and laying it up underhanded for two.

Unfortunately for Dartmouth, however, the Czech team countered with a 14 point run that pushed the score to 63-46 and could have easily left Dartmouth without any hope of a comeback.

Showing heart and determination, Dartmouth managed to rally and moved within three points in the closing minute, but several three point attempts missed, and the Czechs were left to celebrate on a foreign court.

In her 14th season with the Big Green, Head Coach Chris Wielgus remains upbeat about the season ahead.

"Our veterans played outstanding defense," Wielgus said, "but overall, we're a very young team without an identity."

Because it was just an exhibition game, Wielgus was able to work in 14 players. "Obviously they were nervous," she said of the many players seeing action for the first time.

The Big Green now has nine days to get ready for the opening of the regular season, when they'll travel to Boston to face Northeastern Nov. 22.

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