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Women's Basketball Falls at Home to Bryant, 79-69

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By Michael Johnson

HANOVER, N.H. – Freshman Fanni Szabo led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor, but the Dartmouth women’s basketball team fell to Bryant, 79-69, on Tuesday evening at Leede Arena.

Junior Lakin Roland added 13 points for the Big Green and classmate Abbey Schmitt netted 10 in the defeat.

Courtney Schissler paced Bryant with 19 points and Breanna Rucker added a double-double with 12 rebounds and 10 points. Three other Bulldogs scored in double figures, as Jenniqua Bailey had 15 points and seven assists, Meredith Soper scored 11 points and Stephanie Cardamone had 10 off the bench.

Bryant finished the game shooting 53 percent from the field, as the Bulldog offense in the second half was the key to victory, outscoring the Green and White, 46-35. Dartmouth finished the night shooting a season-high 50 percent from the field and 25 percent from the outside. Free throw woes hurt the team in the first, as the Big Green shot 3-of-11 from the charity stripe, but improved immensely in the final half, connecting on 9-of-12 from the line.  

A major turning point in the game came on the glass. Bryant finished the night with a 39-25 edge in rebounds and held a 19-9 lead in the second half, resulting in 11 second chance points and 23 points in the paint. 

The opening period saw eight lead changes and seven ties. The Big Green scored the first basket 44 seconds into regulation on a jumper in the paint by Roland. Bryant then tied the game after being held scoreless the first two minutes of play. Dartmouth regained the lead, 8-6, off a putback from junior Kamala Thompson after she followed her own missed shot. 

Both sides traded baskets for a majority of the half, but the Big Green took a four-point lead on a deep three-pointer from the corner by sophomore Kaitana Martinez with 8:38 left. With the score tied at 19, Dartmouth went on an 8-0 run on a pair of treys from freshman Katie Vareika and Szabo. Martinez added a follow through jumper to the run, giving Dartmouth a 27-19 advantage at 4:39.

Bryant used a 12-4 run over the next three minutes to tie the contest at 31. After Bryant took a one-point lead on a made free throw by Alex Klein, the Big Green ended the half on a 3-1 run to preserve a 34-33 advantage on a made free throw by freshman Chay Fuller, who made her collegiate debut during the half.

Szabo led the team with 14 points at the half. Dartmouth shot an impressive 51 percent from the field, connecting on 14-of-27 with 18 points in the paint and three baskets from the outside. Bryant’s offense struggled from the outside missing all eight attempts, but did score 24 points in the paint.

The Bulldogs edged the Big Green on the glass, 20-11, with four caroms by Rucker. Dartmouth forced nine turnovers and scored 11 in transition and was aided by Martinez with five points and three assists in 11 minutes off the bench.

In the final stanza, Bryant took the lead off a quick three by Soper 19 seconds into the half, but Dartmouth answered back to tie the game at 36 on free throws by Szabo. The game would be tied once again at 41 on a three by Vareika, but then Schissler responded on her end with a long-distance shot to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish.

The Big Green battled throughout the second half, cutting the deficit down to four (60-56) on free throws by senior Eve Zelinger. The visitors increased the margin back to double digits and then took a 12-point lead on a jumper by Breanna Rucker with 3:24 remaining.

Trailing by two possessions, Dartmouth was forced to foul Schissler who made both free throws, giving Bryant a 77-69 lead. The Big Green had three great looks from the outside to shorten the deficit with less than a minute remaining, but all missed the mark. 

Bryant shot 63 percent from the field in the second and knocked down all seven treys in the final period. The Big Green shot just under 50 percent in the final 20 minutes and made just two from the outside in 10 attempts.

Dartmouth will travel to Chicago for games against DePaul on Dec. 16 and Loyola-Chicago on Dec. 19. The team will return to Hanover after the holiday break to host the 2013 Blue Sky Classic, featuring Binghamton, La Salle and Massachusetts on Dec. 29-30.