HANOVER, N.H. – Freshman Fanni Szabo continues to thrive at home and helped snap a nine-game skid with a new career-best 34 points in a 76-72 victory against UMass in the finale of the Blue Sky Classic on Monday evening at Leede Arena.
Szabo was named to the All-Classic team along with sophomore Lakin Roland who turned in another top-notch performance with 11 points and six rebounds. Junior Milica Toskovic scored 12 points and a team-high six assists and was a key contributor setting up her teammates in the paint.
“I am proud of the effort we showed. This classic will prepare us for Ivy League play,” said head coach Belle Koclanes. “I asked the team after yesterday’s performance to create an environment for the way we want to play and I think it showed tonight.”
Tied 28-all at the half, Dartmouth took a three-point lead off an old-fashion three-point play by Toskovic. The Minutewomen tied the game on the next possession, as the momentum swung back-and-fourth until Szabo drained a catch-and-shoot three with 15:13 to give Dartmouth a 42-39 advantage.
The Green and White scored the next five points to take an eight-point lead 47-39 with baskets from Roland and Toskovic. “Lakin and Milica made some really great decision tonight on both sides," Koclanes commented.
Looking to increase its lead and hold UMass at bay, Koclanes inserted sophomore Daisy Jordan for her defensive presence and got a whole lot more, as Jordan scored the next four points and finished with seven points and six rebounds in 11 minutes.
“She was a spark off the bench. We want to see that intensity on a consistent basis,” said Koclanes about Jordan.
Holding a double-digit lead, Szabo increased the margin to 13 with a long-distance shot to give Dartmouth a 56-43 lead with 10:39 left. However, Massachusetts did not go away easily and tightened the deficit to single digits on a jumper by Kim Pierre-Louis with less than eight minutes left. UMass closed the gap for the remainder of the contest, but timely free throws by senior Nicola Zimmer, Szabo and Roland helped the Big Green prevail.
Zimmer finished the game with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds with seven coming in the opening half. Although Toskovic led the team in assists, it was Zimmer’s ability to break the UMass defensive system allowing outlet passes to control the offensive zone.
Dartmouth opened the contest the same way they did against La Salle by giving Toskovic the green light from deep territory 45 seconds into regulation. The Big Green held a lead until a trey by Nola Henry with 14:50 left gave UMass an 11-10 lead.
The Green tied the contest two minutes later on a perfect post-up by junior Nicole Beresford, but UMass regained the lead 15-13 on the next possession with a 10-foot jumper by Kiara Bomben. Dartmouth kept the deficit within two possessions the rest of the half and used a 9-3 run to tie the game at 28 with a pair of free throws by Zimmer with 34 ticks left.
Dartmouth finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line. UMass finished at 39 percent from the floor and connected on six-of-11 from the outside.
Henry finished with 19 points for the Minutewomen. Pierre-Louis added 17 points and 17 rebounds and Emily Mital scored 18 points. UMass outrebounded Dartmouth 46-35, but was unlucky turning the ball over 17 times with nine assists. Dartmouth found itself on the positive side of the assist/turnover ratio, with 13 helpers and 12 errors.
The Big Green will have five days to prepare for their next contest as they will travel down I-91 to Hartford on Saturday at 2 p.m.
BLUE SKY CLASSIC NOTES:
Binghamton vs. La Salle Recap: Sherae Swinson scored 19 points off the bench to lead Binghamton to its second-consecutive win at the Blue Sky Classic in a thrilling 57-56 victory over La Salle. Leeza Burdgess led La Salle with 14 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
2013 Blue Sky All-Classic Team