Women's basketball clobbers Quinnipiac 90-42 at home
Considering that all the players from last year's Ivy League championship team are returning to the Leede Arena hardwood, expectations for the Dartmouth women's basketball team are high for the 2005-06 season.
But if its first game is any indicator, the Big Green looks more than poised to live up to the hype after its 90-42 drubbing of Quinnipiac on Friday night at home.
The game proved to be a lopsided affair from the opening tip. Dartmouth's first six points came courtesy of Jeannie Cullen '06 who made two three-pointers to open the game.
Those buckets opened the floodgates as Fatima Kamara '07 and Elise Morrison '07 got in on the act making several buckets of their own and with 16:27 left in the first half, Dartmouth was already up 14-2.
At that point, there was no turning back for the Big Green. Before halftime Dartmouth led by as many as 21 points, but Quinnipiac put together a small run at the end of the first half to narrow the gap to 38-24 at the break.
Momentum appeared to be shifting Quinnipiac's way coming out of halftime when Bobcats Charmaine Steele and Erin Kerner scored the first four points of the second frame to cut the Big Green's lead to 10 with 19:00 to go in the game.
But from there it was all Dartmouth as they went on a 22-2 run over the next 4:49 to make the score 60-30 putting the game far out of Quinnipiac's reach.
Cullen led the Big Green scoring attack with 29 points, sinking 7 of 10 three-point attempts. Asked if she felt like she was in the proverbial zone on Friday, the Wisconsin native showed some mid-western modesty and said, "I got a lot of open looks because of my teammates' screens."
Morrison proved equally solid in the post notching 21 points and shooting a perfect 9 for 9 from the field.
Together they were part of the Big Green's most dominant performance of the last five years in terms of margin of victory. Dartmouth had not beaten an opponent by more than 40 points since March 3, 2000 when the Big Green trounced Cornell 88-45.
Dartmouth head coach Chris Wielgus was satisfied with her team's performance. "I'm really pleased with our effort," she told reporters.
"We had a great inside presence with Elise and then when they sagged inside, that left Jeannie open outside. I thought everyone played well."
Cullen agreed that the team had started the season on the right foot. "We did a lot of good things for it being a season opener. We were clicking on offense and were able to force a lot of turnovers," she said.
One might think with such a lopsided win, the Big Green squad could quickly become dangerously overconfident. That notion had in fact occurred to Cullen but she says that her team remains focused.
"It was nice to have a blowout but we also set the bar pretty high for the next game," she said. "We know we have to take it one game at a time."
Dartmouth will be on the road this week for two contests. On Tuesday they'll head to Worcester, Mass., to take on the Crusaders from Holy Cross at 6 p.m., and then it's north to Orono, Maine to face the University of Maine.
The next home game is Wednesday Nov. 30 against Central Connecticut State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.