Dartmouth's women's basketball team suffered a disappointing season-opener on Friday night, losing 75-73 to the Wildcats of UNH in overtime at Lundholm Gymnasium. The two-point margin was all New Hampshire needed to defeat the Big Green, a preseason poll favorite.
"It was a tough game in which both teams played well and fought until the end it was just a matter of getting over the hump and pulling away and we were unable to do that," said Jean Cullen '06.
Neither team dominated the first half. Dartmouth came ahead at intermission 36-34, though, after trailing New Hampshire 31-23 late in the first half. The Big Green was able to complete 15 of 34 field goal attempts (44.1 percent) and three-fifths of its free-throw endeavors.
In the second half of the game, the Big Green and the Wildcats struggled for the lead. There were seven ties in the half and the biggest gap in score was four points.
With less than five minutes left in the second half, the Big Green led by four points. However, the Wildcats averted the outlook with Danielle Clark's three successful free throw attempts and Lindsay Adam's basket to lead 61-60.
The end appeared gloomy for the Big Green until the Wildcats' Kate Poulin fouled against Dartmouth. Then, with Ashley Taylor '07's free-throw leaving four seconds on the clock, the Big Green glided into overtime.
Dartmouth proceeded to score four points in the first two minutes of overtime, but Clark tied the game for the Wildcats again with four free throws. Angela Soriaga's first attempt in overtime gave Dartmouth the lead once more, but Clark hit a three-pointer and made five of her next six free-throw attempts to give New Hampshire the win. The Big Green's head coach, Chris Wielgus said of the game, "It was a closely fought battle from the opening tip. I was pleased with the team effort." However, Wielgus added, "we still have work to do."
Junior Guard Soriaga led the Lady Green with 20 points while teammates Cullen and Fatima Kamara '07 each contributed 11 points. Taylor added nine points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Big Green.
Sydney Scott '08 debuted in her collegiate opener with 16 points in a short 20 minutes of play. Teammate Cullen described Scott's performance as "awesome."
Wielgus lauded the Lady Green's performance and pointed out, "Angie Soriaga was solid at the point. Fatima Kamara came off the bench and had a great overall performance. Sydney Scott and Krista Perry were a very tough duo inside."
The Wildcats lucked out on Friday night, as one of the strongest players in the League, Elise Morrison, did not see action in Durham, N.H.
New Hampshire's Clark ended the best game of her career with 25 points, including 22 points generated in the second half and overtime. She hit 13 of 18 free-throws and completed five field-goal attempts.
The Big Green hit seven of 21 three-point attempts (33.3 percent) and 12 of 21 free-throw opportunities (57.1 percent) while its in-state rival made 21 of 29 free throws (72.4 percent) and scored eight of 26 three-point attempts (30.8 percent).
The Big Green last faced New Hampshire on Nov. 30, 2002 and lost 76-68. The Wildcats now leads the series 17-11 and is on a four-game winning streak.
The Big Green looks to find its winning way against Fordham on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Leede Arena.