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Harvard Goes Inside to Defeat Women's Basketball in Ivy Opener

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By Doug Austin

HANOVER, N.H. – Senior Nicola Zimmer scored a team-high 16 points, but the Big Green allowed 52 points in the paint and fell to Harvard 73-63 on Saturday afternoon at Leede Arena.

Dartmouth falls to 2-12 on the season and 0-1 in the Ivy League. Harvard improves to 10-4 and 1-0 in league play. Both sides will square off again for the 75th all-time meeting in two weeks on Jan. 25, in Cambridge, Mass.

Zimmer’s 16 points were a season-best for the senior guard who is still finding her way after missing seven games with an illness. “Nicola led the team out there today. She is going to have an awesome Ivy season,” said head coach Belle Koclanes. “Nic had a great week of practice and is now 100% healthy.”

Freshman Fanni Szabo was the second top finisher for the team, scoring all 10 points in the second half, after being held scoreless on five misses in the first.

Sophomore Lakin Roland continues to improve on both ends of the court, as the power forward scored nine points with seven rebounds and took a pair of charges, but was limited in time and fouled out late in the contest.

Harvard’s attack came from six different threats, with four scoring in double figures. Temi Fagbenle led all with 21 points and Elise Gordon scored 13 off the bench with eight boards.

“This team is looking to find its defensive identity,” said Koclanes after the team surrendered 52 points inside and 17 offensive rebounds.

Roland scored the first five points for the Big Green, but Harvard answered back and gained an 8-5 lead on six straight points. Both sides traded buckets until the midway point, when Harvard utilized an 8-0 run to hold an 18-11 lead with 8:01 left.

Dartmouth kept the deficit to within three possessions for the rest of the half and with 2:07 remaining, Zimmer drilled a three-point shot. Harvard then increased the lead back to seven on a layup by Fagbenle. On the next possession, junior Kamala Thompson hit a trey with the intent of decreasing Harvard’s advantage. However, the Crimson scored five more points before the half ended and led 35-26 at the break.

Fagbenle’s ten points led the Crimson after 20 minutes, but their 21-12 edge on the glass was a key part to their offensive success.

Early in the second half, Dartmouth tried to run with the  Crimson offensively, as Szabo scored the first basket out of the locker room. 

Dartmouth trailed 43-38 after a jumper by Szabo, but then Harvard went on a 9-0 spurt and gained a 52-38 advantage. Not backing down, the Big Green scored six consecutive points and trailed 66-59 with 2:39 remaining, but timely free throws and poor execution down the stretch haunted a comeback for the Green.

Dartmouth finished the game shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the line. Harvard shot slightly below the Green at 45.5 percent and was held to just one three-pointer all night. Harvard’s timely free throws late in the contest preserved its 92.3 percent shooting from the line.

The Crimson finished with a 38-28 advantage in rebounds and added 12 second chance points off caroms.

Christine Clark and Jasmine Evans also finished in double figures for the Crimson with 12 and 10 points, respectively. 

The Big Green will be back in action next Saturday, when they travel to NJIT for a 2 pm tip.