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Strong Defensive Effort Not Enough In Loss To Holy Cross

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Kamala Thompson tied her career-hihg with 11 rebounds in Dartmouth's loss to Holy Cross on...     By Mark Washburn

HANOVER, N.H.- The Dartmouth women's basketball team held a 52-32 rebounding edge, led by double-figure rebounds from both Tia Dawson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Kamala Thompson (Selden, N.Y.), but it wasn't enough as Holy Cross shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) in a 64-52 win over the Big Green on Thursday (Jan. 3) night. 

Dartmouth (1-12), which never led in the contest, made things interesting late in the game. After trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half, the Big Green made a push over the final 2:04 of action.

With a pair of free throws from Kaitana Martinez (Hailey, Idaho), who made her first collegiate start, Dartmouth closed the Holy Cross (7-6) lead to 12 points. Classmate Lakin Roland (Jeffersonville, Ind.) added another point from the charity stripe to pull the Big Green as close as 11, but that was as close as they would get as the Crusaders sealed the win from the free throw line for their second consecutive win over the Big Green.

Senior Faziah Steen (Detroit, Mich.) posted nine points to lead the Dartmouth offense while Martinez and Abbey Schmitt (Winnetka, Ill.) each added eight. Dawson and Thompson both had a game-high 11 rebounds while Martinez and Roland each added four steals in the loss.

For the second consecutive game, Dartmouth was cold from the floor, shooting just 27.0 percent (17-of-63) and was plagued by turnovers, posting a season-high 28, leading to 28 points for the Crusaders.

The Big Green's defensive effort was superb as Dartmouth posted a season-best 52 rebounds for its first 50-rebound outing of the season. The Big Green also added a season-high 13 steals, marking just the second time the team has posted double-figure steals.

Trailing by eight to open the second half, the Big Green kept the game close early as neither team could get anything to fall in the opening minutes. The Crusaders grabbed the early momentum and rattled off 10 points to take a 40-24 lead forcing head coach Chris Wielgus to take a timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Big Green were able to shift some of the momentum with a heads up defensive play from reserve Eve Zelinger (Palo Alto, Calif.) and a bucket through traffic from Roland making the Holy Cross lead 41-27 at the 12:40 mark.

Despite a superb defensive effort from the Big Green, which included numerous tips and deflections throughout the contest, they couldn't stop Holy Cross in transition, as the Crusaders scored a combined 23 points on fast-break and second-chance opportunities.  

It was a slow start to the game for both teams as they combined for just 11 points through the first seven minutes . The Crusaders took an early 8-3 lead, but it wasn't due to lack of chances for the Big Green. Dartmouth had ample opportunities on the inside, but misfired on several point-blank shots.

Dartmouth kept things close from the charity stripe going 6-of-7 from the line in the first half. The Big Green tied things up at 8-8 just before the 12-minute mark courtesy of a pair from the free throw line from Schmitt and an old-fashioned three-point play from reserve Lauren Taiclet (Wellesley, Mass.).

Holy Cross used a 6-0 run to take a 14-8 lead at the 7:56 mark, but Dartmouth stepped it up on defense highlighted by a big block from Roland. In the first half, the Big Green forced Holy Cross into 11 turnovers, but were only able to record five points on the other end.

Steen ended a six minute scoring drought for the Big Green with a triple, her first of the contest, to make it a five-point Crusader lead at 16-11 heading into the final media timeout of the half.

The Big Green defense held and was able to make some things happen on the offensive side of the ball in the final 1:12 of action in the first half. With a pair at the charity stripe from Taiclet, Dartmouth cut the lead to 24-13, and with back-to-back baskets from Schmitt and Steen, drew within 10 points. Thompson put the icing on the cake, nailing a triple with two ticks left on the clock to whittle the Crusader lead down to eight at the break, 28-20.

Dartmouth closes out the 2012-13 non-conference schedule on Sunday (Jan. 6) when it travels to Amherst, Mass., to take on UMass. The Big Green and Minutewomen will tip off at 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Big Green Sidelines
Nicola Zimmer did not dress after going out in the first half of Sunday's game against Villanova with an injury; she is listed as day-to-day ... Freshman Kaitana Martinez started in the place of Zimmer, making her first collegiate start ... Dartmouth's 52 points marks the first time in three games the Big Green scored more than 40 points .. Dartmouth is one loss  from tying the program record for consecutive losses at 13. The mark was first set last season ... Martinez set career-highs in minutes (35) points (8) and rebounds (5) ... Dartmouth last recorded 50 or more rebounds against Columbia (3/3/2012) last season when they also pulled down 52 rebounds ... The last time Dartmouth had two players with 10 or more rebounds was also against Columbia (3/3/2012).