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Second Half Surge Sends Duquesne to 54-39 win over Dartmouth

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Tia Dawson had a team-best 11 rebounds in Dartmouth's loss to Duquesne in first day action...     By Mark Washburn

HANOVER, N.H.- The Big Green used a 12-2 run to tie the game at 35-35 with 10:54 remaining in the second half, but a 19-4 run from Duquesne to close the game sent the Dukes to a 54-39 win over the Big Green in the Blue Sky Classic on Saturday (Dec. 29).

Duquesne advances to the Blue Sky Championship where they will meet Delaware, who defeated Villanova, 59-45, in the first game of the night. It will be the Dukes first appearance in the championship game.

A team-high 11 points from junior co-captain Nicola Zimmer (Chevy Chase, Md.) led the Big Green offense. It was her first game in double figures in the last five outings. Faziah Steen (Detroit, Mich.) was also in double figures with 10 points while Tia Dawson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) led the rebounding efforts with 11 rebounds.

Dartmouth (1-10) fought back after being down by 13 points in the first half. Trailing 24-11 with 4:36 left in the half, the Big Green closed the half on a 10-0 run which cut the Duquesne (11-1) lead down to six points.

Out of the halftime break, Dartmouth quickly made it a two-possession game with a layup from Dawson cutting the lead to 25-21 at the 18:48 mark. With a triple from Duquesne's April Robinson, the Dukes pulled ahead 30-23 at the first media timeout of the second stanza.

Dartmouth took some momentum back with a coast-to-coast layup from Steen and then reserve Daisy Jordan (Worcester, Mass.) made a monster dunk on the other end to keep the Duquesne lead at 31-25 and well within striking distance.

Reserve Lauren Taiclet (Wellesley, Mass) got in on the action and had six points off the bench to help the Big Green rattled off a 8-0 run to tie the game at 35-35, forcing Duquesne to call a timeout.

The timeout was all the Dukes needed to get going and they rattled off 15 consecutive points to put the game out of reach for the host Big Green, sending Dartmouth to its 10 straight loss.

Jocelyn Floyd led Duquesne with 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Dukes extended their win streak to 10 straight.

The Dukes took the early 2-0 advantage to open the game with a bucket on their first possession from Wumi Agunbiade. Dartmouth would respond with a basket from Steen and a pair at the charity stripe from Zimmer, but from that point Duquesne went on a 9-0 run to pull ahead, 11-4 a the 14:11 mark.

A layup from Jordan ended a nearly nine-minute Big Green scoring drought and with a triple on the next possession from Zimmer, Dartmouth was able to crawl back in and get the Duquesne lead down to 18-11 at the eight-minute media timeout.

The Big Green continued to chip away at the Dukes lead and used a 10-0 run over the final 3:20 of the half, spearheaded by two triples from Zimmer, to cut the Duquesne lead to 25-19 at the intermission.

Dartmouth tightened up its defense over the final four minutes of the half and held Duquesne scoreless in the final 4:20 while forcing the Dukes into two critical turnovers late.

In the first game of the night, Delaware defeated Villanova by a score of 59-45. The Blue Hens will advance to Sunday's championship game to take on Duquesne. This will be Delaware's second appearance in the Blue Sky Classic championship game as they won the title in 2002.

Dartmouth will be back in action at the 2012 Blue Sky Classic tomorrow (Dec. 30) when they take on Villanova in the consolation game. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.

Big Green Sidelines
This is the 36th annual Blue Sky Classic, making it the longest running women's collegiate basketball tournament in the country ... Dartmouth and Duquesne are meeting for the first time in school history ... Kamala Thompson grabbed a season-high nine rebounds ... Tia Dawson grabbed double figure rebounds for the second time in the last three games ... The Big Green are two losses away from tying the program record for consecutive losses (13).