CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Dartmouth women’s basketball team hung with Harvard for the entire game, but eventually fell to the Crimson, 70-65 in Cambridge on Saturday afternoon in the Ivy League opener.
With the loss, the Big Green fall to 5-9, 0-1 in Ivy League play, while Harvard improves to 12-1 overall and opens conference play at 1-0.
Fanni Szabo led her team with 16 points in a solid performance for the lone Dartmouth senior. Kate Letkewicz and Isalys Quinones each added 12 points in one of the Big Green’s best offensive performances of the 2016-17 campaign.
“I’m proud of our team’s effort today because we played together for 40 minutes,” said Belle Koclanes, the Gail Boudreaux '82 and Family Head Coach of Dartmouth Women's Basketball. “It’s something we’ve talked about and something we’ve seen in spirts, but I asked our team to take a step forward and you saw that today. We were more focused and we executed our game plan. We want to earn every victory that we possibly can, but this is a very positive day for us.”
The Big Green found themselves down 9-0 early to a Crimson team that has not lost since their first game of the season. However, Dartmouth punched right back toward the end of the first quarter with a 7-0 run that extended into the opening minutes of the second.
In a whirlwind sequence, the team’s traded baskets that tied the score four times toward the end of the second stanza, but the Crimson came out on top, taking a 38-35 lead into the locker room at the break.
After halftime, the Big Green came storming back into the contest with an 11-3 run that put Dartmouth ahead 52-47. During this run, Szabo scored seven of her 16 points, setting up the exciting final quarter.
“Fanni is our senior and she is in a very good place right now,” Koclanes said. “Her confidence is up in her final Ivy League season and she’s on a mission. It’s hard for one person to lead a group of 16 players. She has teammates helping her, but she’s finally at a place where she’s leading them. When Fanni is playing her best and the ball is in her hands late in the game, that’s what we want to see.”
In the early stages of the fourth, Harvard capitalized on an 8-3 run to cut its deficit to three points. With just over a minute to play, the Crimson retook the lead on a pair of free throws after Quinones was called for a foul. Trailing 66-65, Dartmouth turned the ball over which allowed Harvard’s leading scorer Madeline Raster to hit a jumper with 16 second to play. She finished the game with a team-high 17 points.
With four seconds to go, Andi Norman put up a three-pointer that just rimmed out to end the ball game.
The Big Green and Crimson return to the court in two weeks when Harvard visits Leede Arena on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network for subscribers.