Basketball highlights offensive potential in two-game series

| 11/28/11 11:00pm
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11.29.11.sports.wbball25
by Dennis Ng and Dennis Ng / The Dartmouth

Captain Faziah Steen '13 scored a career-high 32 points against UVM (6-1) and center Sasha Dosenko '12 added 12 points, giving the Big Green (1-2) a season-best 46.7 shooting percentage from the floor and its largest offensive output of the season.

"Our rebounding margin was higher than the other team, and I think we did a better job on the offensive end, setting up plays and running our sets," Steen said.

The Big Green started strong and led throughout the game, carrying a 37-19 advantage into halftime. Capitalizing on the fast break, Dartmouth's fast-paced play resulted in open shots and numerous free throw opportunities. The team sunk 11 of its 12 free throw attempts in the matchup against UVM.

"Free throws are something we've been focusing on, and we have to shoot a couple hundred a week in practice," Steen said.

Steen, the team's leading scorer, credited her impressive output this season to starting quickly in games.

"When I hit a couple shots early it's a way to break the ice and give me the confidence," she said. "My teammates were finding me well, and it was just one of those nights when you're in rhythm and you hit the open shots that are available."

Dartmouth's defense also turned in a solid performance, limiting UVM to 25.9 percent shooting from the floor.

"This is a good defensive team for the most part," Steen said. "I think we've been able to shut down most of the team's guards that we play. We're very athletic and are able to contain better than past years."

Steen said Dartmouth's offense had prepared to face both man and zone defenses, allowing it to score throughout the game.

Although UVM attempted to mount a comeback in the second half, Dartmouth's early offensive outburst was too much to overcome.

The win marked Dartmouth's second in a row and its fourth consecutive road game. The Big Green has not yet played at home this season.

"Because we did get a couple wins on the road, it shows that it doesn't matter whether we're home or away," Steen said. "We're still expected to execute."

The team was unable to carry its offensive firepower into Saturday's contest against Providence (3-3), as the Friars surged past the resilient Big Green in a strong second-half performance.

After an impressive 9-0 run in the first half, Dartmouth failed to stop the Friars' offense, and Providence stormed back to take a 28-26 lead heading into halftime.

"It was just hard to get the ball on the wing," Steen said. "Their guards were playing us really tight and their man-to-man defense was good. It was just tough as far as shooting goes."

The Friars opened the second half on a 13-6 run and never looked back. While Dartmouth's offense began to close the gap in the waning minutes of play, the players' inability to properly box out their opponents resulted in extra scoring opportunities for Providence.

"If we can just cut down on their extra possessions, then the lead doesn't get that far away from us," Steen said.

Dartmouth's ability to keep the game close in the first half was in part due to rookies Kamala Thompson '15 and Tia Dawson '15, who both scored in double digits.

"We're obviously very young, with five freshmen," Steen said. "They contributed a lot this game, and it's good to see that we can rely on freshmen to step up."

Steen said Dartmouth's success this season will depend on the new players' ability to grasp the Big Green's offensive and defensive schemes.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but as people get more experience, we'll see more contributions," Steen said.

The Big Green opens its home schedule against the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday at 7 p.m.