Faced with short bench, women lose to Ivy foes

by Taylor Malmsheimer | 2/26/12 11:00pm

On the road and with a short bench for the fourth straight game, the Dartmouth women's basketball team fell to the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University this weekend. The Big Green (4-21, 2-9 Ivy League) suffered a 63-49 loss to Penn (11-14, 4-7 Ivy League) on Friday before falling to Ivy League champion Princeton (21-4, 11-0 Ivy League) on Saturday, 94-57.

Dartmouth opened the game against Penn with a 4-0 lead, but the Quakers settled into the game and tied it up with four quick points on Dartmouth turnovers. The game continued to remain close as the two teams traded baskets. Dartmouth took a 10-8 lead on two three-pointers by Milica Toskovic '15 before Penn called a timeout to regroup.

After the timeout, Penn responded with a 6-0 run, but Dartmouth fought back and answered with a 5-0 run led by Arianne Hunter '14 to get within one point of the Quakers. Penn used a full court press to force Big Green turnovers and take a 24-15 lead with 6:37 left in the first-half. Dartmouth got within six points on perfect free-throw shooting by Toskovic before Penn used more offensive energy to take a 31-20 halftime lead.

Beginning the second half, Penn went on a 19-2 run to push the lead out to 22 points. The Quakers never looked back and kept a comfortable lead for the remainder of the game.

Captain Faziah Steen '13 said the Big Green had trouble getting into a rhythm throughout the game.

"We struggled a lot with getting our offense started," Steen said. "They also put a lot of pressure on our guards, and we got the ball into the post too late in the game. We had lots of mismatches that we didn't take advantage of until later."

Steen's streak of double figures ended against the Quakers, with her scoring only seven points. Toskovic stepped up and scored a career-high 17 points, while Tia Dawson '15 added 10 points and 12 rebounds. It was Dawson's fourth double-double of the season. Sasha Dosenko '12 also added 11 points and eight rebounds for Dartmouth.

On Saturday, the Big Green headed to New Jersey to take on the Tigers. Dartmouth could not stop the sharp shooting of Princeton, who clinched their third consecutive Ivy League title with the win.

The Big Green struggled from the beginning of the game, as Princeton rushed out to a 10-2 lead. The Tigers shot 44.4 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from behind the arc in the first half, led by senior Lauren Edwards' five three-pointers. A bright spot for the Big Green's first half offense was its free throw shooting it went 13 for 15 from the charity stripe.

Princeton went on a 9-0 run to start the second half. The Tigers continued to shoot well and expanded their lead for the rest of the game. Their sharp accuracy combined with their fast-paced offense proved to be too much for the Big Green.

"We were just slow in transition matching up," Steen said. "They had lots of fast break opportunities. [Matching up in transition] is something we've had to work on all year."

Dartmouth also struggled offensively, shooting only 36.5 percent from the field. The Big Green had 22 turnovers, and once again had trouble settling into its offensive sets.

"Their pressure defense had us scrambling a lot," Steen said. "We were trying to find a solid offensive set that worked for us. We tried to rely on the post. We definitely just had trouble getting the offense started."

Steen finished the game with 19 points, putting her only 45 points away from a career total of 1,000. Dosenko was also a bright spot for the Big Green, scoring a career-high 21 points and converting on all seven of her free throw attempts.

Lately, Dartmouth has been plagued by injuries and sickness and is playing with a short bench. Against Princeton, the Big Green had only one substitute available. This has given those playing a great deal of useful experience, but Dartmouth is feeling the physical effects of playing only six people, Steen said.

"We're pretty fatigued," Steen said. "We played really hard, and the effort is definitely there. We showed a lot of heart. It's about working hard no matter how many kids we have. Hopefully, we'll get the team healthy for our last few games of the season."

Next week, Dartmouth takes on Cornell University and Columbia University in its last two home games of the year. The Big Green will honor Dosenko, the team's only senior, and work on many of the little things that have plagued its game this year.

"We're just going to focus on working hard," Steen said. "Just being able to run something consistently on offense and switch defenses. Basically, all the little things we've struggled with throughout the year."

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