Women's hoops hits road for Penn and Princeton weekend

by Jonathan A. Lee | 2/6/98 6:00am

Forget hunting for the Holy Grail. That's kids' stuff.

If the Dartmouth women's hoops team wants to stay in the hunt for the Ivy League title this season, the fourth-ranked Big Green (9-8 overall, 3-2 Ivy) will have to play their finest 80 minutes of ball this weekend as they travel south to take on Princeton (10-7 overall, 4-1 Ivy) and Penn (9-8 overall, 4-1 Ivy) -- the two teams currently tied for second place in the Ivy standings.

Clearly, a Big Green sweep won't be easy.

So far, the Tigers have done a great job of earning their stripes and the Quakers have proved to be far less than cordial pacifists on the court.

The Tigers have five straight victories, including four Ivy wins, and they have only trailed for 13 total minutes against their Ivy opponents.

The Quakers, meanwhile, have also been on a tear lately -- they recently closed out the month of January with four straight victories to record their best mark in school history for the month (6-1). But perhaps more foreboding for the Big Green is the fact that Penn's 4-1 Ivy mark is its best start since the 1989-90 season.

But in order to start off the weekend doubleheader on the right foot, the Big Green must pull the brakes on Princeton's three standouts on Friday night. The Tiger's junior guard, Lee Ann Drohan, sank a career-high 19 points last week to complement her career-high 13 rebounds grabbed just a few days earlier.

Against Columbia, Princeton senior Saikya Pressley dominated with seven steals, 14 points and six assists on the night. Sophomore Maggie Langlas rounds out the Tigers' three-pronged attack -- last week, she earned a double-double against Rider with 10 boards and 18 points. Not too shabby.

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, seems to be a one-trick pony -- the Quakers' freshman center Diana Caramanico is arguably the top rookie in the Ivy League this season, having earned Rookie of the Week honors six times so far, including the last two weeks.

Her statistics speak for themselves. Just last week, Caramanico averaged 22 points per game and nine rebounds per game to help the Quakers stretch their win streak to four. For the week, she sank 66 points, 27 rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and 11 steals.

But with all this said, the Big Green also have a deep arsenal and it seems that there's a sleeping giant hidden behind this past weekend's split against Yale and Brown.

Over the weekend, Dartmouth impressed on the court and fell three points shy of topping the Yale Bulldogs in overtime. Guard Courtney Banghart '00 was the sparkplug for the Big Green in that matchup as she sank a school record six buckets from downtown en route to tying her game high of 26 points.

The Big Green's captain, Bess Tortolani '98, continues to impress from the forward position -- last week she recorded 29 points, 10 boards, 10 assists and eight steals in two games.

But perhaps the biggest asset for the Big Green these days lies in the talents of the freshman class.

Rookies Jackie Lippe and Samantha Berdinka have made the transition from being marks on the bench to benchmarks on the court. Together, this dynamic duo combined for 27 of Dartmouth's 75 points against Brown.

Lippe scored 14 points and snagged nine rebounds against the Bears while Berdinka sank a career-high 13 points along with three rebounds, two assists and four steals. Berdinka also connected on all five of her overtime points against Yale.

Both games in this make-or-break weekend tip off at 7:00 p.m.

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