HANOVER, N.H. – For the first time in program history, the Dartmouth women’s basketball team needed four overtimes to decide a winner. The Big Green fell to Columbia, 91-88, in Leede Arena on Friday night, in what is now the most overtimes played between two Ivy League teams.
With the loss, the Dartmouth falls to 5-11 overall, 0-3 in the Ivy League while the Lions improve to 11-5, 1-2 in conference play.
In a marathon of a contest that saw the score tied 10 times with four lead changes, Big Green senior Fanni Szabo put on a show with 31 points, just three points shy of her career-high. Sophomore Isalys Quinones set a new career-high for herself with 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double. Junior Kate Letkewicz added 13 points and nearly hit the game-winning three with a last second shot that rimmed out in the final seconds of the fourth extra frame.
“I’m just so proud of my team’s effort, particularly from the second half onward,” said Belle Koclanes, the Gail Boudreaux '82 and Family Head Coach of Dartmouth Women's Basketball. “We didn’t have the best first half, but that led to a great second half onward. You have to give credit to Columbia and their players as well as their coaching staff in their first year. We’ve always battled with Columbia, and it was really fun to coach in.”
The Big Green did not get the first half they had hopped for, but kept the score close. In the third, Dartmouth went on a 7-0 run in the opening minutes to climb back into the contest. The Lions responded with an 8-0 run to begin the fourth, but a pair of jumpers by Olivia Smith helped keep Columbia’s lead within reach.
With a minute to play in regulation, Quinones poured in a layup, tying the game at 57. After a Lions’ turnover Smith put a shot up to win the game with 2.2 seconds to go, but it would not fall, sending the game into the first overtime.
Columbia opened the extra frame with a pair of three’s, but Letkewicz responded with a trey of her own and then a layup to bring the Big Green within one. Then with less than minute to play, Szabo tied it with a layup to set up a second overtime.
“Fanni played remarkable and that’s how seniors play,” Koclanes said. “She knows she only has 11 games left in her career and she’s playing that way. We need to keep her healthy and fresh, but she’s capable of that. Trying to get consistent production from her is very important to us.”
Columbia’s leading scorer, Camille Zimmerman scored six quick points to open the second OT period, but picked up her fourth foul sending Letkewicz to the line to make two free throws. Zimmerman finished the night by leading all scorers with an impressive 37 points. Down by two with just over a minute to go, Szabo tied the game again at 72 and that’s where the score remained at the final horn of the second extra frame.
With 9.3 seconds to go in the third overtime, Dartmouth led 83-80 and looked to close out the game with one more stop. The Lions’ Emily Surloff had other ideas as she drained a three at the buzzer, sending the game into a historic fourth overtime period.
In the final frame, Columbia relied on solid free throw shooting to earn their first Ivy League win of the season, but the Big Green did what they could to keep the score close, giving Letkewicz a chance to win the game on a last second shot.
Dartmouth returns to action tomorrow night when the Big Green host Cornell at 6:00 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN3 for cable subscribers with Eric Berry and Bob Lipman on the call.
Notes: The last time the Big Green played an 3OT game was on Nov. 23, 2008 vs. Vermont, Dartmouth lost 82-77.