Women's basketball must sweep to keep Ivy hopes alive
The time is now.
If the women's basketball team wants any share of the Ivy title now held solely by Harvard, the Big Green must win their next three games and hope that the Crimson fall apart down the homestretch.
Now three games back behind Harvard (10-1 Ivy), Dartmouth (7-4 Ivy) shares the second place position with the Princeton Tigers (7-4 Ivy).
So the Big Green will be shooting for all or nothing this weekend as they head down to Providence and New Haven to take on the Brown Bears and the Yale Bulldogs for the second time this season. In the January homestand against these two teams, Dartmouth fell 74-72 to Yale in overtime, before topping Brown by three points.
And now, with identical 7-5 Ivy records, Yale and Brown will launch their final campaigns for the second place slot in the final Ivy standings this weekend.
In Providence, Dartmouth's defense must be weary of the Bear's leading swing-plater, Liz Turner. Last weekend, with three steals against Columbia, Turner became the first player in Ivy basketball history, men's or women's, to notch 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 steals and 100 three-pointers. The stats suggest she's a major threat from every spot on the court.
Meanwhile, junior guard Vita Redding, remains Brown's deadliest shooter. Last weekend against Columbia and Cornell, she poured in 49 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals -- including a season-high 27 points versus Cornell.
Against Yale, the strategy for winning will be a bit easier -- just keep the Bulldogs away from the free-throw stripe. Over the weekend, that was the sweetest spot on the court for them as they sank 82 percent of their freebies against Cornell and 81 percent against Columbia.
On top of that, it might be a good idea for the Big Green to keep the ball out of the hands of Yale's junior forward Autumn Braddock, who sank 17 points in the Columbia victory, and the Bulldogs' freshman forward Lily Glick who drilled 11-for-16 from the field and 13-14 from the stripe over the weekend.
Most importantly, if the Big Green expect to sweep Brown and Yale this weekend, they must hope and pray that they will strike on all cylinders during the roadtrip. This past weekend's split results against Penn and Princeton revealed Dartmouth's greatest weakness -- inconsistency.
For example, in game one against the Quakers, forward Jackie Lippe '01 led the Big Green with 20 points while guard Courtney Banghart '00 sank 19 points, including five long-range buckets.
But against the Tigers, Lippe was held to a meager six points while Banghart was held scoreless.
So the key prognosticator for the Big Green's success this weekend will probably be Lippe and Banghart's ability to bury the key baskets.
But if that doesn't work out, Dartmouth can still rely on guard Nicci Rinaldi '99 to find the hoop using her patented one-handed-scoop driving layups. Furthermore, senior Bess Tortolani '98 and guard Samantha Berdinka '01 have also proven their ability to score key points for the Big Green.
If the Big Green can come away from this weekend with two ticks in the win column, their season finale against top-ranked Harvard at home on Tuesday could prove to be judgement day.