Harvard stifles women's basketball in low-scoring contest

by Kevin Liao | 1/28/08 9:53am

Dartmouth's women's basketball team had trouble keeping its momentum and was held to just 34 points.
by Jennie Post / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth (4-12, 1-1 Ivy) and Harvard (8-8, 1-1 Ivy) have now split thier season series. With the loss, the Big Green passed up a critical opportunity to put the Crimson in a 0-2 hole in conference play.

Head coach Chris Wielgus was disappointed with how the game unfolded.

"Our shots today didn't even hit the right ocean, if you know what I mean," Wielgus said. "We did take a lot of strong side shots though, so it was harder to get in position for offensive rebounds."

From the opening tip to the final buzzer, both teams had trouble making shots. Harvard stifled the Dartmouth offense for its second lowest scoring output of the season on only 24 percent shooting and an abysmal 9.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Crimson was not much better, however, shooting only 33.9 percent. Harvard's 47 points matches its season low, previously set in the first matchup against Dartmouth.

Harvard's 54-32 rebounding advantage and 11 turnovers for the Big Green in the second half ended up being the difference in the game. Harvard had 18 offensive rebounds compared to Dartmouth's seven, leading to many more second chance opportunities for the Crimson.

Co-captain Sydney Scott '08 was dissappointed that rebounding, which has been a strong suit for the team all season, led to the team's loss.

"We need to get back to controlling the glass and getting more offensive rebounds like we usually do," Scott said.

The Big Green raced out to a 7-2 lead on five quick points from Williams. Dartmouth began the game with solid pressure on defense, forcing Harvard to toss up a couple of long jumpers as the shot clock wound down.

However, a few sloppy turnovers by the Big Green opened the door for Harvard's offense, allowing the Crimson to go on a 8-0 run to grab a 10-7 lead with 13 minutes left in the half. Dartmouth kept its composure and battled back to take a 14-13 lead at the 7:23 mark on a free throw by Brittany Smith '11.

The teams traded leads over the next three minutes until Markley led Harvard on a 6-0 run to take a 24-18 lead with under two minutes remaining in the half. Tay and Markley each nailed a jumper in the closing minute to give Harvard a 28-20 halftime advantage.

Harvard had plenty of opportunities inside in the first half due to the team's size advantage on the court. The 6-foot-3-inch Markley gave Dartmouth all sorts of trouble in the paint and on the boards.

Harvard shot 42.9 percent in first half action, Dartmouth was just able to manage 27.6 percent from the floor. The Big Green found it extremely difficult to find many opportunities at the basket.

Koren Schram '09 shot zero-for-six from the field and zero-for-five from long range in the first half and saw her eight-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end. She expressed frustration with the team's conversion rate.

"We didn't get many open looks at all," Schram said. "We got to get our inside game going when our outside shots don't fall. It was just one of those days where nothing was falling, and we'll do better next time."

After the halftime break, Dartmouth regrouped and came out more aggressively than it had in the opening half. Similarly to the first half, the Big Green took off strong and went on an 8-2 run to slice the lead to 30-28 with 14 minutes left on the clock. The team focused on driving into the paint and getting to the foul line, putting Harvard over the foul limit within the first seven minutes of the half.

With its lead down to two, Tay answered for the Crimson by hitting a three point dagger with the shot clock winding down to halt the Big Green's run. Both teams' defense buckled down after that and did not surrender many easy baskets. Dartmouth's defense was able to keep things close for a while, but a six minute scoring drought for the Big Green doomed its chances.

That was enough time for Harvard to take the initiative. Markley hit two more jumpers, and by the time the Big Green finally hit its first field goal in nearly 10 minutes, the Crimson's lead was up to 42-31 with five minutes left. Dartmouth did not challenge after that point and Harvard would extend the lead to as many as 16. The Big Green only scored six points in the final 14 minutes of play.

In the second half, Harvard only managed to hit 25.8 percent of its shots, so the opportunity for Dartmouth to take the lead was there. The Big Green, however, was only able to hit 19.5 percent of its shots and failed to take advantage of the Crimson's struggling offense.

Scott paced the team with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Betsy Williams '10 hit the only two three pointers of night for the Big Green. The scoring leaders did not get much support though, as only four other players scored in the game. The Big Green bench added just four points, while the Crimson bench exploded for 21.

Scott discussed her team's offensive woes.

"We didn't have a very good offensive game," Scott said. "We didn't move the ball well at all and couldn't hit our shots."

Harvard made just enough shots to clinch victory. Junior Emma Markley came off the bench and led the Crimson with 13 points and eight rebounds on perfect six-of-six shooting, while junior Emily Tay chipped in with 10 points.

Dartmouth will have a week to regroup before continuing the battle against its Ivy League rivals. The team hosts Princeton this Friday and the University of Pennsylvania this Saturday.

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