Women’s basketball blown out at home by Princeton and Penn

by Emily Lu | 2/3/20 2:10am

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The Big Green struggled to generate much offense and shot poorly from the field this weekend.

by Lorraine Liu / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The Big Green struggled to shoot at home on Friday and Saturday, allowing Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania to run away with scores of 66-34 and 66-33, respectively. Dartmouth made just 27 of 110 shots overall and shot seven of 39 from beyond the arc between the two losses.

Defensively, the team was brighter; the Big Green held the Ivy League’s top scorer, Penn’s Kayla Padilla, below her average points per game and held Princeton and Penn to a combined 40.5 field goal percentage. With the two defeats, Dartmouth slipped to seventh in the league with a 1-3 record in conference play.

The first quarter against Princeton — which came into the game on a nine-game win streak — told an entirely different story from the final score. While the size mismatch was apparent from tipoff, Elle Louie ’21 made a quick steal during Princeton’s first possession and opened scoring with a layup. The teams went back and forth before Kealy Brown ’19 came off the bench to add seven points and extend Dartmouth’s lead to 14-8. This would be the Big Green’s largest lead of the night, as the Tigers answered back with five points to end the first quarter at 14-13.

“We came out of the gates with an attack mentality, competing at a really high level against an extremely talented high-level basketball program,” said head coach Belle Koclanes. “Offensively, we’re executing our actions really well, now we need the ball to go into the basket.”

Princeton took over halfway into the second quarter with a 15-2 run and held the lead until the halftime buzzer. Offense remained sluggish in the second half while Princeton built off its previous outburst with a 19-4 run, finally concluding when Katie Douglas ’22 drained a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to send the teams into the last 10 minutes at 50-28.

“Princeton’s been at the top of the league all four years [I’ve been here] — It’s honestly a goal to just be as good as them,” Annie McKenna '20 said. “My freshman year, I remember beating them on our home floor, so it’s definitely attainable but it’s going to take hard work.”

A layup by Asha Taylor ’22 and two free throws from Brown — who finished the night with a season-high 11 points — chipped away at the Tigers’ lead, but Princeton proved too far ahead. Both teams struggled to keep possession and capitalize offensively, going four minutes without a bucket in the middle of the fourth quarter. Koclanes brought fresh legs on the court with Allie Harland ’23 and Karina Mitchell ’23 coming on for their first appearances in conference play before the game finished 66-34.

“It takes a village to win an Ivy League championship: You want everyone to be able to contribute in certain ways,” Koclanes said. “It’s important that when there’s pockets of time, we start getting [younger players] more experienced so that they can build their skill sets.”

Another one of those development pockets came the next day after against Penn, in which Harland subbed on for the last five minutes of the blowout only to emerge as the Big Green’s leading scorer with 10 points. 

Dartmouth failed to bring the same early momentum against the Quakers, who were coming off a loss against Harvard University the previous night. Neither team got on the board until almost two minutes in; however, Paula Lenart ’20 quickly responded to Penn’s first bucket with a jumper to keep the score even. The Big Green initially kept Penn’s lead minimal with Lenart and Louie adding more jumpers to tighten the score to 8-7 with 4:19 left in the first quarter. The Quakers then dropped 13 points of the next 16 points in under three minutes, only broken up by a Douglas 3-pointer.

The 13-3 run was nothing but a sneak peek of the Quakers’ controlling offense; Penn went on to silence the Big Green with 23 consecutive points in the second quarter and 29 straight points going back to the first. Before going into half, Veronica Kelly ’22 ended Dartmouth’s scoring drought with two buckets in the paint to bring the score to 44-14. 

“It’s a similar conversation just about being able to score,” Koclanes said. “It’s disappointing because at this point we want to show the world that we’re able to compete with anyone we face.”

While the third quarter saw the Quakers outscore the Big Green 14-5 to take the score to 58-19, Harland bucked the trend when she subbed in the fourth with 4:36 on the clock. She alternated between jumpers in the paint and triples to contribute double digits and outscore the Quakers on her own in the quarter.

“I think I was just fired up sitting through a game like that,” Harland said. “When I came on I was angry — I wanted us to score.”

The Big Green stay in town for another doubleheader next week, playing against Brown University and Yale University. The league-leading Bulldogs are currently perfect in Ivy play and rolling off eight consecutive wins overall.

Correction appended (Feb. 4, 2020): This article originally credited the steal in the opening possession against Princeton to Annie McKenna, but Elle Louie actually stole the first pass.