Women’s basketball drops two games at home this past weekend
Coming off of two overtime games on the road in New York the previous weekend, the women’s basketball team sought to come out strong on its home turf last weekend against two perennial Ivy League powerhouses, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. The weekend resulted in a sweep of the home team. Dartmouth lost 85-48 to Princeton (15-4, 4-1 Ivy) and fell against Penn (16-3, 5-0 Ivy), the top team in the league, 56-41. The weekend’s losses mark the Big Green’s third loss in a row and leaves the team at 2-4 in league play and 7-15 overall.
On Saturday night, the Big Green took on a deep and explosive Princeton lineup. The Tigers came out strong, ending the first quarter 20-11, and forced early fouls on Dartmouth seniors Lakin Roland ’16 and Daisy Jordan ’16. Throughout the first half Dartmouth tried to close the margin, with Roland knocking down a three as time dwindled. However, Princeton managed to maintain its lead, ending the first half with nearly a 20-point lead. Princeton’s play was marked by consistency outside the key. The Tigers shot 53.3 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
Coming back from halftime, the Big Green appeared to have more energy, but the team still couldn’t convert in the volume it needed to break the Tigers’ lead. Emily Dryden ’19 helped close the deficit with a three-point play late in the third quarter, but Dartmouth still trailed 59-32 heading into the fourth.
Roland was taken out of the game after picking up her fourth foul with 9:32 remaining, and Princeton continued to capitalize on its consistent shooting. Fanni Szabo ’17 knocked down a three late in the fourth, but it was not enough to counteract the large Princeton lead ending the game with a 37-point win.
The game marked Szabo’s return to play after being out since Dec. 21 due to injury. The team will look to utilize her in coming matches.
“Coming back in itself is a great feeling,” Szabo said. “I’m thankful for our athletic training staff and excited to help the team as much as I can.”
In her first game back, Szabo proved herself to still be an offensive threat, scoring seven points. The game was also a big night for Kate Letkewicz ’18 who scored 17 points and added seven rebounds. Letkewicz’s 17 points was the most of any player on the floor.
“We’re easing [Szabo] back in after her injury and she’s still healing,” head coach Belle Koclanes said. “We’ve been playing pretty well and we have a nice fluidity going. Now it’s about building Fanni into that fluidity. She’s excited and the team is excited to have her back.”
The differences between the Big Green and the Tigers was most evident not only in the final score. While Princeton ended the night with a whopping 85 points, no player scored over 11 points. Amazingly, every player on the Tiger’s roster scored. This massive scoring distribution was in stark contrast with the Big Green and highlighted the deep Princeton bench.
“We respect every single one of our opponents,” Koclanes said. “We learn from them, and today Princeton reminded us how far we still have to go. We’ve come really far as a program in our three years and this team is one of the hardest working teams we’ve had so far and we want that to continue as we move forward.”
The Big Green returned to Leede Arena the next day to take on the Quakers. Penn currently sits in first place in the Ivy League and handed Princeton its only league loss earlier this season.
The game started off with a strong performance from the Big Green, who opened with a 7-0 run. By the end of the first quarter, Dartmouth led the Quakers 13-9.
“Our first quarter we came out of the locker room and executed the game plan perfectly,” Koclanes said. “We came pretty close to what we needed to do to attack Penn’s pressure and attack their zone.”
Koclanes added that the team was playing with really high physicality and put Penn on its heels in the first quarter by doing a much better job of protecting the paint.
In the second period, Penn quickly answered to Dartmouth’s early run, tying the game with 8:21 remaining in the half during a 12-0 Quaker run. A jump shot from Roland ended Dartmouth’s scoring drought and helped the team close the gap, and the team ended the half down by one 19-18.
During the third quarter, Penn began to break away again but still Dartmouth fought back with a long three from Szabo with 2:47 left. Heading into the final quarter, Dartmouth trailed by only six points 40-34.
The team went down by 11 early in the quarter, but Roland came through for the team by knocking down three free throws with 6:21 left in the game after a hard foul. Still the Quakers pulled away in the final minutes of the game.
In the final seconds of the game, the lights went out in Leede Arena. The power outage drew out the final seconds of the game, but the time to regroup didn’t help the Big Green revert a 15-point deficit.
“We competed for a lot of the game,” Roland said. “It was a definite improvement from the night before, but we could have done better at the end.”
Despite the loss, Roland once again posted impressive stats, scoring 21 points and grabbing five rebounds against the top team in the league.
Overall, Dartmouth matched Penn in shooting 35 percent from the field and edged out Penn by 3.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Big Green will head to New Haven, Connecticut Friday to take on Yale University followed by a Saturday game in Providence, Rhode Island against Brown University.