Women's hoops falls to Siena, 82-74

by Jonathan A. Lee | 11/17/98 6:00am

In a game highlighted by individual flashes of brilliance by the Big Green, the women's basketball team dropped its season-opener to Siena College, 82-74, on Saturday.

After playing through a close first half, Siena used an early offensive explosion in the second stanza to put themselves ahead for good.

Dartmouth showed solid offensive balance as four Big Green players hit double scoring digits against the Siena Saints, but even though it would usually be enough to win, it would not be enough for the Big Green this night.

But Siena's secret weapon came in the form of the 1997-98 MAC Player of the Year, Melanie Halker, who poured in a game-high 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the defending MAC champions.

"They kept looking to Halker and passing around the outside until she could get her player sealed," Courtney Banghart '00 said. "She is a preseason all-American candidate, and we saw why tonight. She was real tough to stop."

Two junior guards kept Dartmouth competitive from start to finish as Liz Martin and Banghart jumpstarted the Big Green attack.

Martin made the most of her 12 minutes of play as she led Dartmouth with four assists and six rebounds on the afternoon. She also dropped in 13 points for the Big Green -- good enough for second on the team.

Banghart kept the scorekeepers busy all afternoon as she poured in 23 points -- including six three-pointers. Her barrage of long-range buckets against the Saints equaled her previous school record for most triples in a game.

Seniors Katie O'Connor and Gyvonne Pinkston evened out the Dartmouth scoring with 11 points each.

"Katie had a great game inside for us," Banghart said. "She was a strong presence inside and pulled down some key rebounds. We needed her to have a huge game and she responded."

Overall, the Big Green showed solid offensive tenacity and defensive poise in their opening match. Definitely not a bad start.

"They were a strong team,"Banghart said. "But we could have and should have beaten them. We had some people playing hurt, and we were just foggy on both sides of the floor at times. We had brilliant moments, but then we would go out and have some droughts."

The true test for the Big Green will come in a week and a half when the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs visit Hanover on the 27th of November.

Between now and then, the Big Green's main priority will be getting past the University of Hartford and Boston University. The Big Green tip off against the Hartford Hawks for their home-opener at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

"I predict very good things for this year, but it's going to take a lot of little steps," Banghart said. "Some backwards, and hopefully most forward. We learned a lot from our first game on Saturday night, and I know will we be very, very ready to play this weekend."