Women's basketball overwhelmed by second half surge

| 11/20/08 3:21am
Brittney Smith '11 was a bright spot for the Big Green, scoring 11 points on five of 11 from the field. She also led the team with nine rebounds on the night.

Forward Brittney Smith '11 led the Big Green with 11 points and nine rebounds. Guards Betsy Williams '10 and Koren Schram '09 chipped in with eight and six points, respectively.

The Red Storm (2-0, 0-0 Big East) shot 42.9 percent from the field for the game, including 40 percent from behind the arc, leading Dartmouth the entire game. The Big Green (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) shot just 26.8 percent from the field. Dartmouth was especially bad from 3-point range, hitting only two of 20 from behind the arc.

Dartmouth played St. John's close in the first half, holding the Big Storm lead to six points at the half. The Big Green held its Big East opponent to 38.7 percent shooting, while keeping pace at 39.1 percent. Dartmouth even out-rebounded St. John's, 18-17.

St. John's opened the scoring on a 3-point play by Monique McClean, who finished with a game-high 23 points. The teams traded baskets for the majority of the half, as the Red Storm was unable to extend its lead into double digits.

The Big Green started the second half in promising fashion as well. A jumper by Smith cut the Red Storm lead to 29-25, and a trip to the free-throw line by Williams made the game a one-possession contest. That would be as close as Dartmouth would come, however. St. John's went on an 11-0 run in the next four minutes to build a 41-26 lead. After forward Margaret Smith '10 scored for the Big Green, the Red Storm went on a 15-6 run to expand its lead to 22 points and effectively end the game.

Williams hit Dartmouth's last field goal of the game, a floater with 7:24 left in the game. Three free throws were all the Big Green had to counter the 16 Red Storm points that flew in during the remainder of the game. St. John's 45-point second-half explosion alone was enough to beat Dartmouth's 39-point total.

Much of Dartmouth's struggles on offense can be attributed to the effectiveness of St. John's full-court press. Red Storm pressure began four minutes into the second frame and forced six turnovers by the Big Green in the backcourt. Along with another steal at its end of the court, St. John's grabbed 13 points off Dartmouth turnovers in the second half.

Even when the Big Green was able to break the press and set its offense, the Red Storm was very effective in preventing open looks. The St. John's defense allowed a miserly 18.2 field-goal percentage from Dartmouth in the second half.

On the other hand, the Red Storm shot 82.4 percent from the field in the second half. Kelly McManmon led the way, scoring 16 of her 19 points on five of six shooting, including four of five from 3-point range.

St. John's beat Dartmouth in nearly every statistical category in the second half. The Red Storm out-scored the Big Green 20-12 in the paint, the result of St. John's dominance on the boards. The Red Storm's bench out-scored Dartmouth's reserves, 12-1. Ten of 11 players scored in the game for St. John's, three of whom made it into double digits.

Despite the poor second-half performance in Tuesday's game, and its 0-2 record, the Big Green is not worried. Last season, Dartmouth began 1-10 before finishing 15-16 and winning a share of the Ivy League title.

Dartmouth will play again this Saturday when it travels to Burlington, Vt., to face Michigan State University in the TD Banknorth Classic.