Women’s basketball drops to 1-5 in Ivy play after four home losses

by Justin Kramer and Boyd Bragg | 2/10/20 2:05am

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Women’s basketball dropped home matches with Brown and Yale this weekend.

by Lorraine Liu / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The Big Green had a challenging weekend at home against Brown University and Yale University, getting down early in both games and falling short in its comeback attempts. After opening Ivy League play with a win against Harvard University, Dartmouth has now lost its last five conference games, including the last four at home, and eight of its last nine games overall.

The Big Green struggled to heat up at home against Brown University on Friday, as the team put up just nine points in the first quarter and trailed by as much as 20 in the second, ultimately losing 83-71. Dartmouth played from behind throughout the game, as the Bears outrebounded the Big Green 47-33 and shot 47.4 percent from the field. Though Dartmouth’s 34.2 field goal percentage and 34.5 3-point percentage were vast improvements over last weekend, Brown’s offensive game and early lead proved too much to handle. 

Dartmouth allowed Brown’s junior guard McKenna Dale to explode with 26 points and 11 rebounds and gave up 13 points and 12 boards to sophomore forward Ashley Ducharme. Despite challenges with offensive efficiency and rebounding, Dartmouth stayed competitive for much of the game. 

As time wound down in the second quarter, the Big Green went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to only 12 points. Forward Anna Luce ’21 drilled back to back 3-pointers off the bench to spark momentum going into the break.

“We had some great actions in first to get some open looks,” Luce said. “I think this weekend, we were able to connect really well together and play well together, so when one of our teammates curls or dives the other one replaces. Just creating open wings for each other, was a huge part in making those shots. Some of them came in really pivotal moments.”

Dartmouth found some rhythm during the third and fourth quarters. The scoring was even between the two teams in the second half, as Dartmouth put up 45 points in the last two quarters, but the first quarter deficit was too much to overcome. Guard Annie McKenna ’20’s statline highlighted the stark difference in Dartmouth’s performance between the two halves, as she scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half to go with nine assists and seven rebounds overall on the night.

“That kid plays with so much heart and fight, and she just wants to win,” said head coach Belle Koclanes. “She had a tough first night last night, but that’s ‘Mack’ — it doesn’t phase her. And that’s what we’re trying to teach everyone: short term memories.”

After exploding for 10 points in five minutes at the end of last weekend’s game against the University of Pennsylvania, Allie Harland ’23 drew 31 minutes of playing time and put up 12 points off the bench. Harland made four 3-point shots and was one of the most efficient scorers in the game. 

“We work a lot in practice as guards trying to get better at that 3,” Harland said. “Just having confidence in myself to shoot the ball was a really big part of it. It felt good keeping my confidence level up to knock those down.”

After the frustrating loss to Brown — the Bears’ first Ivy League win this season — Koclanes said the players understood they needed to rally ahead of their game against Yale on Saturday night.

“It’s hard — it’s hard to win at our level,” head coach Belle Koclanes said. “I was disappointed in our effort [Friday] night, and so were they. We’re on the same page with that. We speak the truth to one another: We’re very authentic, we’re very direct with each other and we’ll continue to teach each other to be that way.”

The Big Green once again started off slow in the first quarter to Yale on Saturday, falling behind 12-0 to a Bulldogs team that was aiming to avenge its first loss of Ivy League play from the previous night. Throughout the game, the Big Green went on short runs that brought the team within striking distance, but Dartmouth never managed to take the lead.

In the second quarter, Karina Mitchell ’23 and Jimena Abejon ’22 contributed to a 5-0 surge that brought the Big Green within four points at the half. Abejon and Elle Louie ’21 kept up the momentum out of the gate in the third quarter with fast-break layups to even the game at 29-29.

“To see the way they responded, not even 24 hours later, is really encouraging,” Koclanes said. “They all care, and they have fight. They have shown that all season, and in the bigger picture, it is going to come together, and we will win more games because of it.” 

The team struggled to stop Yale’s 6-foot-5 forward Camilla Emsbo, who scored a career-high 29 points along with eight rebounds. While Dartmouth was not too far behind in the rebound department — 27 boards to Yale’s 34 — and limited the Bulldogs to just one 3-pointer out of 11 attempts, Yale dominated in the paint with 48 points compared to only 20 for the Big Green.

Luce hit a pair of 3-pointers to close out the third quarter and start the fourth, which brought the Big Green within six points. Despite the comeback attempt, the Bulldogs ran away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Big Green 20-9 and closing the game 67-47.

The Big Green look to halt the losing streak on the road next weekend against Columbia University and Cornell University. With over half the games still left on Dartmouth’s conference schedule, Koclanes still has hope for the Big Green to turn its season around and sneak into the Ivy League tournament.

“You just never know, so the opportunity is still very much in front us,” Koclanes said.