Ladies to Draw Ivy Foes in Road Pair
"Slippery slope" is perhaps the best phrase to describe the place where the Dartmouth women's basketball team finds itself right now.
The Big Green is 4-7, 0-1 in the League, having lost its last five games. On the horizon are a pair of "Killer P's," as Penn and Princeton are known, who will look to push Dartmouth further down that hill into the basement of the Ancient Eight.
Both games take them on the road so the Big Green get to visit Pennsylvania and lovely New Jersey.
First up on the slate are the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. Penn, Ivy League champs last year, is struggling after the loss of graduated Diana Caramanico. The Quakers are 3-8, 0-1 in the Ivies, and have lost eight out of their last nine games.
This year they are led by sophomore guard Jewel Clark, who averages 14 points a game, although senior forward Julie Epton dropped in 19 last weekend in a 66-56 loss to Princeton.
The match-up between Epton and Kat Hanks '03 should be a good one, as Hanks and the rest of the frontcourt are looking to rebound (excuse the pun) from last week's completely dismal rebounding performance against Harvard. If Dartmouth is to beat Penn Friday night, the Big Green must do a better job of rebounding and running against a young, vulnerable Quaker lineup.
Saturday night against the Princeton Tigers will be a different story. While the Quakers are struggling and wondering just whether or not they have what it takes to be a quality team, the Tigers are 7-6 and have won three of their last four.
They are led by sophomore Kelly Schaeffer and senior Lauren Rigny. Both of these players play a wing position, positions that could force Dartmouth to have difficulty matching up. If Dartmouth shuts down these two players by having good guard back pressure, and quick step-ups from the forwards, its chances for victory should greatly increase.
Again, however, Dartmouth's strength lies in its ability to run. This is why rebounding, both offensive and defensive, is important. If Dartmouth can give itself easy second chances off the offensive glass, the boards will bode well. But, more importantly, the Big Green women must get the defensive rebounds that they should, and look to outlet the ball quickly to start a fast break. Look for Big Green guards like Keri Downs '03 to get the ball rolling, or bouncing so to speak, up and down the court quickly here.
If Dartmouth were to lose both of these games, the season would be in dire straits. The Big Green would definitely be at the bottom of the standings with an 0-3 Ivy League record that wouldn't leave coach Chris Wielgus smiling.
However, if Dartmouth can take both games, or even manage a split - which it probably will get with a win on Friday " the Big Green will be in good position. Dartmouth has a reputation of being able to beat teams on the road.
Look for Dartmouth to take outside shots early against both Penn and Princeton to open up the inside game for Hanks. If they can accomplish this, the lady hoopsters will gain a little more traction on the slope that has all of a sudden become quite slippery.