HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth women’s basketball team hosted Vermont on Friday night in the first game of the 2017-18 season, and started the year with a 66-56 win.
Junior guard Cy Lippold led the way with 20 points, going three of four from the three-point line and making three of four free throws. Senior guard Kate Letkewicz was right behind her with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Friday’s win starts Dartmouth off with a 1-0 record while Vermont falls to 0-1. It is the first time the Big Green have defeated the Catamounts since 2013, when head coach Belle Koclanes took the helm.
“We talked in the locker room about this being an opportunity for our four seniors to compete and earn a victory against Vermont,” Koclanes said. “There was some added motivation there on our home floor, I’m really proud of not only our seniors’ effort, but the team’s effort, it takes a village to earn a victory at our level. I’m really excited to kick off the year in this way, and we appreciate the support of our community and our fans.”
Lippold’s aggressiveness and ability to lead the team shone through, as she was the starting point guard while Annie McKenna is recovering from a tweaked hamstring. She led the team in steals with five, as she was pushing to keep the offense up-tempo throughout the game.
Dartmouth started off the game evenly with Vermont, before going on a 6-0 run and then pulling away by 13 points in the end of the first quarter.
Entering the second quarter, both teams were battling for points as the Catamounts tried to close the gap with a three-pointer scored by Cassidy Derda, followed by a layup by Josie Larkins. While the road team was trying to climb back into the game, the Big Green were not ready to let them get back in it that easy. Dartmouth forced 23 total turnovers and scored 26 points off of turnovers, maximizing the opportunities given.
In the last five minutes of the first half, both teams traded scoring but as the home squad continued to score, the chance for Vermont to tie it up was looking slim. Entering half time, the Big Green were leading 39-23, their biggest lead of the game so far.
Similar play ensued in the third quarter, as Andi Norman scored a three, 30 seconds in and extended the lead, but Hannah Crymble of the Catamounts was ready to do the same, scoring a layup and jumper in the same minute, cutting the lead to 42-27. In the next few minutes, Dartmouth went on a 6-0 run and took what would be the biggest lead of the game, up 48-30 with an 18-point advantage.
Crymble and Candice Wright fought hard in the fourth quarter for Vermont, exchanging baskets, but reaching the two-minute mark with an eight-point deficit, they were unable to tie it up.
Friday night was not only the season opener, but the first game for freshmen members of the Big Green. Forward Anna Luce scored her first collegiate points on a jump shot against the Catamounts, in the middle of the second quarter.
Dartmouth continues its home stand on Sunday afternoon, hosting Boston College at Leede Arena at 2 p.m.