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Szabo Scores 33, But Big Green Falls to Providence, 82-72

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By Mark Washburn

HANOVER, N.H. – Another near heroic Leede Arena performance by freshman Fanni Szabo was erased as the Dartmouth women’s basketball team fell to Providence 82-72 on Monday evening.

Szabo led all scorers with 33 points, as the newcomer has made quite an impression in both home games this season for the Big Green. Her previous Leede Arena high was 31 points against Vermont in the home opener on November 11.

The Hungarian sharpshooter went 14-of-27 from the field and nailed five treys. After just seven points in the opening frame, Szabo scored 26 points in the final stanza, shooting 11-of-15 from the floor with four from the outside. 

Tori Rule added 32 points for the Friars in the win and Alexis Harris added a double-double (16 points and 12 rebounds) for her squad. Rule also had an impressive final half, scoring 20 points to preserve the win. 

"I walked into the locker room after the game and wrote the word FIGHT on the board. Tonight our team showed that we have a FIGHT in us and I am so proud of that fact," said head coach Belle Koclanes. "We are definitely moving in the right direction!"

Trailing 53-41 with 12:39 remaining in the contest, the Big Green made a valiant comeback, as a 9-0 run pushed the team to within three, 55-52. Szabo’s six points and a three-pointer by junior Kamala Thompson moved the squad within one-possession. Providence answered back with a 9-0 run of their own, to regain a 12-point edge, 64-52, with 7:18 remaining.

After a three-pointer by Providence’s Sarah Beal and a pair of jumpers by Rule gave the Friars a 15-point advantage, 71-56, the Big Green made a final attempt down the stretch, but early foul trouble haunted the team. Providence finished the contest 5-of-6 from the line in the final minute of play.

Providence (3-1) went into the half with a 37-23 lead over the team from the Upper Valley. Szabo led the hosts with seven points on 3-of-12 from the field. Rule led the Friars with 12 points at the break. Dartmouth (1-3) held an early lead for the first four minutes of play.

Junior Milica Toskovic hit a three-pointer on the game's opening shot and a pair from the line by junior Lakin Roland gave the Big Green a 5-0 lead. Providence answered and tied the game at nine on a layup by Evi Iiskola. The visitors increased its lead to double digits, on a jumper by Karin Robinson. Providence held the lead for the remainder of the half.

Roland finished the contest with 10 points, as the Big Green shot 23 percent from the field and made 10 treys. Providence shot a little better percentage from the interior, but struggled from the outside shooting 3-of-11 from three.

Dartmouth played the contest minus senior co-captain and point guard Nicola Zimmer who sat out with an undisclosed illness. "We had several players step up today and perform well. Kaitana Martinez & Kamala Thompson were given the charge to fill in for Nicola Zimmer at the point, a very important position for us and Nicole Beresford coming off the bench at the post position," explained Koclanes after the game. 

Robinson and Beal finished in double figures for the Friars, who also out bodied the Big Green on the glass, 44-37. Dartmouth forced 17 turnovers and capitalized with19 points on the transition. Providence used its size  inside to score 40 points in the paint and 23 on second chance opportunities.   

Freshman Katie Vareika scored a career-high eight points off the bench and found her stroke from the outside, nailing a three-pointer in the second half.  

Dartmouth will be idle until December 1, when they travel to American for a 2 p.m. meeting with the Eagles. "We have some time in the next 11 days to continue to gain confidence in our skills and systems before hitting the road for American. Taking care of the basketball and offensive execution are definitely at the top of our practice plan as well as defense & rebounding," commented Koclanes.