Women's basketball loses fourth

| 11/29/09 11:00pm
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11.30.09.sports.wBasketball
by The Dartmouth and The Dartmouth and JARED BOOKMAN / The Dartmouth

Brutal second halves proved to be the downfall for the Dartmouth women's basketball team this week, as it was handed its third and fourth consecutive losses by the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., and the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Big Green (1-4, 0-0 Ivy) unraveled in the second half Sunday, shooting just 12.5 percent from the floor. The Bearcats (4-2, 0-0 Big East) outscored Dartmouth by 17 points in the period and ultimately pulled away with a 55-35 win.

Although Vermont (4-0, 0-0 America East) led the Big Green by just seven points at the half on Wednesday, the Catamounts came out strong in the second half to shoot 56 percent from the field and score an astonishing 53 points, brushing aside any hopes Dartmouth had of pulling the upset. The Big Green ultimately fell, 83-59.

"I think that it was a lackadaisical effort on defense," co-captain Michelle Meyer '10 said of Wednesday's loss to the Catamounts. "We shut down their good scorers in the first half, but in the second half they got inside and that caused problems for us."

Megan McFee '11 scored a game-high 16 points for the Big Green. Brittney Smith '11 continued to post impressive numbers, scoring 13 and pulling in nine rebounds. Sasha Doshenko '12 scored 11 and also hauled in nine boards.

Dartmouth shot 38 percent from the floor an improvement over the season's early games, but still not high enough to overpower Vermont's 46.5 percent accuracy.

"I think it comes from the kind of shots we're taking," Meyer said. "A lot of the misses came from inside, and we had problems with the rebounds."

Vermont, on the other hand, dismantled the Dartmouth defense with its balanced offense. Five players scored in double figures for the Catamounts, and only one player did not score.

"We were [surprised] because their two top scorers were scoring 23, 24 points a game apiece," Meyer said. "We were definitely focused on shutting them down, but their other players stepped up and we never really adjusted."

Brittney Smith '11 got the Big Green started in the second half with a basket that cut the Vermont lead to five. The Catamounts went on a 21-3 run over the next eight minutes, however, to open up a huge lead and effectively run away with the win.

The Big Green stopped the run with a pair of threes from McFee and Faziah Steen '13 with 11:28 to go. Vermont scored another seven straight before Meyer hit another long-range effort for Dartmouth to make it a 21-point game.

The streak was more a factor of the Big Green's own errors than any outstanding Vermont plays, Meyer said.

"We had a lot of turnovers," she said. "I think it was mainly our fault and they were capitalizing on our turnovers, unfortunately."

The final score could have looked a lot worse, as Vermont inflated its lead to 33 at one point late in the second half. Good free-throw shooting and overall impressive play from McFee saved the Big Green from further blushes.

This marks the third season in a row that the Big Green has lost to Vermont, although this year's game was very different from last year's triple-overtime thriller that saw the Catamounts escape with a five-point win at home.

Despite the loss, the Big Green saw impressive performances from first-year players Doshenko in her first collegiate start and Steen.

Doshenko nearly had her first career double-double deputized for the injured Cassie Cooper '11 scoring a career-high nine points in just her second game at Dartmouth.

"Especially being a freshman, [Steen] had a really good game," Meyer said. "She provides an offensive spark for us."

Dartmouth came out quickly in the first half, driving to a 4-0 lead in the first four minutes. Vermont grabbed its first lead, 9-7, at 13:45 and then went on a 13-0 run over the next four minutes.

The Big Green will take on Stony Brook University (1-4, 0-0 America East) at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 in Stony Brook, N.Y.