Dartmouth Dealing with Dose of DÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ Vu
This reporter is beginning to feel a little touch of dj vu, for the women's basketball team is facing the dangers of repeated losses combined with impending big games.
With a 5-10 record, 1-2 in the Ivies, the women have lost two in a row against nonconference opponents and have several Ivy League games on the horizon. After hosting Interstate-89 rival Vermont next weekend, Dartmouth will engage in 11 consecutive Ivy games to finish the regular season, beginning with tilts at Yale and Brown Feb. 1-2.
This past week, the Big Green women got rolled over by a New Hampshire squad they could have beaten had they not gone 18 straight possessions without a score.
Also, the team was playing without the help of junior co-captain Kat Hanks, who sat out due to a nagging knee injury. Hanks won't be available for the Jan. 26 game versus the Catamounts, and her absence was also noticeable in last night's 68-62 loss to Northeastern.
Without Hanks, the team can't establish an inside game, which is imperative in order to allow point guard Keri Downs '03 space to take jump shots and dish passes.
Furthermore, the missing Hanks allows opponents' block players to focus on Kate Skelly '03, a forward who often complements Hanks' presence in the low post.
Against UNH, the women were again severely out-rebounded (47-33), and if that margin is repeated against Vermont, the same type of result is likely. With huge conference games on the road at Yale and Brown in two weeks, the women can't possibly afford to go into New Haven on a three-game skid.
For Dartmouth to win next Saturday after an eight-day break, it is going to need a heck of a performance from Skelly, Jen Johnston '03, and the rest of Dartmouth's size players.
Vermont will be coming into Leede Arena looking to crash the boards and get lots of easy putbacks, which is a strategy the Catamounts employ with much success.
If they are allowed to do that, Downs and the guard crew won't be able to set up Dartmouth's transition game, which is the bread-and-butter offense for the Big Green.
Three "R"s for the Big Green -- rebounding, running and resiliency -- are the keys in order to find that all-elusive "W."