Women's hoops wins twice over weekend, back in title hunt
Dartmouth (10-14, 7-3 Ivy) remains in third place in the conference as both Cornell (17-6, 9-1 Ivy) and Harvard (15-9, 8-2 Ivy) were victorious over the weekend.
On Friday, the Big Green came out with intensity against Penn (4-20, 1-8 Ivy) despite Dartmouth's recent Ivy cold streak. The Big Green scored at will with 50 percent shooting in the first half, which led to a 35-21 halftime lead. This tally, with contributions from seven different players, was Dartmouth's second highest opening half this season.
Darcy Rose '09 had a breakout game, leading the team with a season-high 13 points. Joining Rose in double digits, Betsy Williams '10 racked up 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Brittney Smith '11 added 12 points.
"Overall the team played well together," Smith said. "We were able to get two wins that were very crucial this late in the season."
The teams traded baskets early on, with Dartmouth leading 13-11 midway through the first half. The Big Green then put the pedal to the metal and over the next eight minutes, the team racked up an impressive 18-3 run. Co-captain Kristen Craft '08 capped the run with a triple of her own, and Dartmouth held a comfortable 31-14 cushion with just three minutes left in the first. The Quakers were held scoreless for the latter six minutes of that stretch.
Penn junior Kelly Scott snapped the drought with just two minutes left in the half and the Quakers were able to manage a mini 7-4 run in the final two minutes, cutting the Big Green's lead to 35-21.
Dartmouth responded immediately out of the locker room. A 6-0 run in the first five minutes gave the Big Green a 41-21 lead, its largest of the night. Penn had a tough time hitting shots during this period and struggled to get on the board in the opening minutes of the second.
In less than four minutes, however, Penn was somehow able to slice Dartmouth's 20 point lead in half, 43-33. But the Big Green answered with another run to rebuild a 48-33 cushion and maintained a substantial lead throughout the remainder of the game.
Dartmouth posted strong offense against Penn, shooting 43.3 percent overall, but the Big Green defense was the highlight of the game. Dartmouth forced 22 turnovers, committing only nine turnovers itself. Dartmouth also had an 8-0 advantage in points off turnovers and a 13-8 offensive rebounding edge.
On Saturday, the Big Green offense kicked into high gear against Princeton (5-20, 2-7 Ivy), shooting a spectacular 56.1 percent from the field, with four players scoring in double figures.
Dartmouth maintained its consistency throughout the game and had its best conversion percentage of the season, shooting over 54 percent in both halves and hitting six out of nine three-pointers.
Koren Schram '09, Williams and Smith scored 16 points each and Craft added 13 points and four assists. Co-captain Sydney Scott '08 chipped in with seven points and nine rebounds. Schram also added five steals and three assists.
Dartmouth dominated the boards 42-21, led by Smith who racked up 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, and another-double double.
"We shot the ball well this weekend because we were taking high percentage shots," Smith said. "We had a great inside-out game that coach always tells us to focus on, so everyone was excited that we were able to do what coach asked us to do."
The score remained even until midway through the opening half when Dartmouth stormed ahead with an astonishing 22-5 run that broke the game open. Williams hit two long balls and Schram converted from long range during this eight minute stretch.
The Tigers were held scoreless for seven minutes until junior Whitney Downs managed a free throw at the 2:05 mark, bringing the score to 33-17. Princeton did not make a shot until two minutes later when junior Jessica Berry threw up a buzzer-beating three-ball, cutting the lead to 35-20 at half.
Princeton then opened the second half with a 16-11 run in the first six minutes of the period, slicing the Big Green's lead to 10 points, 46-36.
The Big Green bounced back when Smith made a statement with an offensive put back, igniting an 8-2 run to extend the margin and ice the game.
This Friday, Dartmouth will welcome conference-leader Cornell (17-6, 9-1 Ivy) for the Big Green's biggest game of the season. Dartmouth will then face Columbia (9-15, 6-5 Ivy)at home on Saturday.
"We dug ourselves into a hole the other weekend when we lost to Cornell and Columbia," Smith said. "But the good thing about the Ivies is that you get to play everyone twice, and this weekend we will have our home court advantage. We will come out and execute better this weekend and hopefully beat Cornell and Columbia. [Friday night] is a very big game."