Women’s basketball team 1-1 after first two games of the season

by Josh Schiefelbein | 11/13/13 3:45pm

by Zonia Moore / The Dartmouth

A rough first half culminated in the women’s basketball team dropping its season opener 84-59 to the College of the Holy Cross last Friday, despite 21 points from Fanni Szabo ’17 in her first career game, 14 of which came in Dartmouth’s (1-1) furious second half. The Big Green rebounded this Monday, breaking a 10-game losing streak with a solid 66-62 victory over the University of Vermont, and now looks forward to a showdown with Syracuse University today.

Dartmouth squared off against Vermont in the 31st meeting between both teams, which Dartmouth now leads 18-13 after Monday’s triumph. The win also represents head coach Belle Koclanes’ first career win at Dartmouth.

“I’m very excited for our team’s first win together,” Koclanes said. “In the locker room before the tip, we talked about the pride of playing on our home court and protecting our house. Our team prepared well for Vermont, with a strong focus on offensive execution and a higher level of defensive intensity and efficiency.”

Szabo led Dartmouth’s win with 31 points, setting a new freshman record for points in a home debut. Co-captain Nicola Zimmer ’14 added 10 points with three assists and three steals. Dartmouth’s offense shot 44.9 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent on three-pointers, but struggled distancing itself with 24 committed turnovers.

The defense effectively shut down Vermont, holding them to 30.6 percent on field goals and 21.1 percent on three-pointers. Vermont did outperform Dartmouth on free throws, connecting on 70 percent compared to Dartmouth’s 66.7.

Center Tia Dawson ’15’s defensive efforts helped Dartmouth secure its win, recording six blocks, five rebounds and three steals.

Vermont won on the glass 48-38, though Dartmouth was assisted by guard Kamala Thompson ’15’s 10 rebounds, but its efforts were wasted by its 21 fouls.

Dartmouth led 28-23 at the end of the first half. A jumper as the clocked expired missed, preventing Vermont from making it a one-possession game.

Although Vermont outscored Dartmouth in the second 39-38, it still fell short by four and Dartmouth extended its lead to five points with free throws in the final few minutes. Vermont’s missed desperation three-pointer with 24 seconds on the clock iced the game.

“The first game is always hard with a new team and a new coaching staff,” Szabo said. “We were a bit hesitant against Holy Cross, but tonight we came out hard and we passed the ball and our defense was better.”

The Big Green’s rout with Holy Cross last week put the latter one game away from tying Dartmouth for the series lead, which Dartmouth currently has 6-5.

“This means the world to us,” Holy Cross senior Brisje Malone said. “We have our alumni here supporting us. We have our coaches, and we have each other, and it just shows what kind of program coach Gibbons has put together, and he’s missed.”

Dartmouth fell behind early when Holy Cross took a 17-3 lead with 12:48 left in the first, although Thompson’s jumper ended Holy Cross’ 13-0 run.

Holy Cross built its lead to 30-9 before Dartmouth went on a 5-0 run. Holy Cross continued to overwhelm Dartmouth, ending the half ahead 44-19.

At the beginning of the second half, Holy Cross picked up where it left off, starting with a 12-0 run. With 10 minutes remaining, Holy Cross took its largest lead of the night after Holy Cross junior Emily Parker’s layup made it 70-31.

Zimmer finished with 12 points and forward Lakin Roland ’16 pitched in 10, while Dawson helped with six points and nine rebounds off the bench.

“We are going to build upon the positive showing we had in the second half,” head coach Belle Koclanes said. “I’m proud of the effort and energy we had after trailing early on.”

All five Holy Cross starters finished the night with more than 11 points.

“Like our coaches said, to just come out in the first few minutes of the game and control the momentum of it,” Holy Cross sophomore Raquel Scott said. “We came out 17-3, so we just got those transition baskets in. It didn’t even really dawn on me how many points we had.”

Neither team shot particularly well, but Holy Cross finished with the advantage in every shooting percentage, connecting on 49 percent to Dartmouth’s 36.7 percent in field goals, 38.9 to Dartmouth’s 25 percent in three-pointers and 76.5 to the Big Green’s 52.6 percent in free throws. Holy Cross also led in rebounds, 46-31.

Next up on the docket is Syracuse (1-0), which eked out a 69-65 victory over Washington State University on Sunday. Last season, Syracuse went 24-8 and 11-5 in the Big East, finishing third in the conference and making the NCAA tournament.

The Big Green travels south to face Syracuse tonight at 7 p.m.

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