Women's basketball still winless after loss to Northeastern
Last year, the Dartmouth women's basketball team got off to a slow start but turned its season around after defeating Northeastern and going on to compile a winning record and a second-place finish in the Ivy League. The Big Green was determined to mirror this result this year, as co-captain Kristen Craft '08 stayed on the court through the end of the contest despite a bloody nose, but Dartmouth was denied by Northeastern in an entertaining game, 57-50.
With the loss, the Dartmouth women are still searching for their first win on the season, as the Big Green falls to 0-5 on the season. Meanwhile, Northeastern's record moves to 3-3 after the win and a loss this past Saturday to Long Island University.
The game was a contrast of styles, as Dartmouth looked to establish the motion offense and Northeastern utilized the press in hopes of speeding up the tempo of play and forcing the Big Green into mistakes. Dartmouth's ball handling was solid early on, and the Big Green was able to minimize turnovers en route to a 15-2 start in which the Huskies did not get their first points until almost ten minutes into the half. Brittney Smith '11 was on target early on, and Kraft was effective in knifing through the Northeastern pressure.
Head Coach Chris Wielgus commented on the divergent styles of play.
"Northeastern was trying to play fast, and we were trying to slow them down with a 1-2-2 zone," Wielgus said. "I think that we were able to not play that fast."
However, Northeastern got into a rhythm toward the latter portion of the half when it backed off slightly from the press, as Northeastern went on a 10-0 run to close the gap. Both teams knocked down several buckets to end the half, and the score stood at 24-20 at intermission.
In the second half, Dartmouth continued to do well and it looked as if the Big Green would widen its lead. Sharpshooter Koren Schram '09 got her stroke going, draining several baskets. However, the tide turned on the Big Green when the Huskies connected on three straight three-pointers, and the momentum shifted toward Northeastern. The press proved to be much more effective in the second half than in the first, and the Big Green was rushed into committing costly turnovers through the final stretch of the second half.
With just under five minutes left, Northeastern knocked down a pair of free throws to gain the lead for the first time, 43-41. The teams swapped buckets in the final minutes, and with Northeastern up 49-47, Dartmouth turned the ball over on its subsequent possession and the Huskies were able to preserve the victory.
The Northeastern free-throw shooters had ice water in their veins, as they went 6-6 in the final 30 seconds from the charity stripe.
Wielgus talked about needing to put teams away when they are down.
"The turnovers down the stretch really hurt us, and we didn't have good spacing throughout the game," Wielgus said. "This is a young team growing up in front of our eyes, and what you saw today was typical of a young team. The next step is putting opponents away."
Dartmouth outshot Northeastern in the game, 42.4 percent to 32.3 percent, and held a 45-28 advantage rebounding the ball, but it was the 27 turnovers that doomed the Big Green.
Leaders for the Big Green were Kraft, who had 14 points and six rebounds, and Smith who had her first career double-double with 11 points along with 12 rebounds.
Smith talked about making an immediate impact as a freshman.
"The game is a lot faster in college, and everyone is bigger and stronger so you have to adjust your shots accordingly, but my teammates have been really supportive and they have been great," Smith said.
The Big Green will be back on the hardwood on Tuesday, Dec. 4, when Dartmouth travels to Fairfield, Conn., to take on Sacred Heart. The Pioneers are 3-3 on the season and are coming off a win against the Cougars of Brigham Young University.