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Women's Basketball Comes Up Short In Second-Half Comeback

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By Mark Washburn

CHICAGO — After trailing by 15 points at the half, the Dartmouth women’s basketball team fought back with a 16-2 run to take a 65-64 lead, only to have host DePaul rally for a 90-76 victory on Monday afternoon at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

“We took an incredible step forward today. The team made a decision to compete and every player played their role,” said head coach Belle Koclanes.

Dartmouth finished with four in double figures, led by freshman Fanni Szabo with 18 points on 7-of-14 from the field. Classmate Katie Vareika finished with a new personal high of 17 points and connected on four baskets from the outside.

Junior Abbey Schmitt and sophomore Lakin Roland contributed 21 combined points and 10 rebounds in the post. Roland finished with 11 points and six boards, while Schmitt added 10 points and four caroms in her Illinois homecoming. Junior Nicole Beresford scored five off the bench as the Dartmouth reserves contributed 25 points.

The Big Green shot a season-best 57 percent from the field, connecting on 29-of-51 field goals. DePaul finished the contest shooting 43 percent, but took 34 shots from the outside.

Sophomore Kaitana Martinez started at the point once again and had eight points with eight assists. Martinez also battled inside aiding the Big Green with five boards, as the squad outmuscled the Blue Demons, 36-35, on the glass. “Kaitana handled the pressure well. We asked her to keep the ball in the middle because of the defensive traps by DePaul,” said Koclanes.

Junior Tia Dawson returned after missing four games with an injury and had a team-high eight caroms with three blocks and four points.

DePaul finished with six players in double figures, led by Megan Rogowski with 18 points. Chanise Jenkins had 14 points with four three-pointers. Brittany Hrynko added 13 points with six assists, and a trio of players finished with 12 points.

Turnovers haunted the Big Green in the contest, especially late during a critical run by the Blue Demons. DePaul scored 25 points off 23 mistakes by the visitors.

Szabo led the Big Green with 13 points in the first half as the team shot 56 percent, connecting on 13-of-23 field goals.

The opening half was filled with long-range shots, as DePaul drained back-to-back three-pointers to start play before Dartmouth answered back with a trifecta by Szabo. The Green trailed for the entire half, but held the deficit to a single possession for a majority of the early portion of play.

Trailing, 11-7 with 16:55 left, Szabo made a nice layup off a backdoor cut by Martinez. The Blue Demons added another long-distance shot to take a five-point edge, 14-9, by Rogowski, but the Big Green cut the deficit to a single possession off a layup by Szabo with 14:26 left.

Dartmouth trailed by one point, 19-18, after Szabo and Roland provided back-to-back buckets in the paint. DePaul increased its lead to double-digits at 34-24 after a pair of deep shots by Chanise Jenkins from behind the arc. The Blue Demons held the double-figure lead for the remainder of the half and took a 19-point edge, 48-29, with 1:38 left on a layup by Brandi Harvey-Carr.

DePaul regained that 19-point lead to start the second half, but a three-pointer by Martinez with 17:34 left ignited a 9-0 run for the Big Green. Trailing 62-49 with 14:40 left, Dartmouth rattled off 19 of the next 23 points to take a two-point lead. During the run, the Big Green made five three-pointers — four from Vareika — and held DePaul to 1-of-10 from the floor. That lead lasted all of 28 seconds before Jenkins nailed her fourth trey of the night. 

Following the basket by Jenkins, DePaul used its own 13-0 run to regain a double-digit lead. Dartmouth missed all seven shots during the run with four turnovers.

Dartmouth has one more game remaining in Chicago when it takes on Loyola-Chicago on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.