HANOVER, N.H. – Despite a solid 40-minute effort, the Dartmouth women’s basketball team fell to league-leading Penn, 60-47 on Friday night in Leede Arena.
The loss, the Big Green are now 7-19 overall, 2-11 in Ivy League play while the Quakers improve to 18-7 and 11-1 in conference play.
Junior Olivia Smith set a new season-high with 18 points in Dartmouth second to last game of the 2016-17 campaign. The Big Green’s lone senior, Fanni Szabo poured in 11 points in her final weekend in Hanover.
“I am really proud of our team’s energy, effort and focus tonight,” said Belle Koclanes, the Gail Boudreaux '82 and Family Head Coach of Dartmouth Women's Basketball. “It just takes one night. The Ivy League from head to toe shows that any team can beat anybody on any given night. That’s how good our league is. We wanted to remind Penn of that tonight. Don’t count us out because we want to compete.”
The Big Green had one of their best opening quarters of conference play, controlling the pace with the top squad in the Ancient Eight. Thanks to lockdown defense, Penn was held scoreless from beyond the arc (0-for-6) and shot just 25 percent from the field in the first quarter of play. With the score tied at 10, Dartmouth unleashed a 9-0 run, taking a 19-10 lead. By the quarter’s end the Big Green found themselves up 19-14.
About halfway through the second, the Quakers offense awakened with a 9-2 run which led to a 31-24 halftime Penn lead.
The Quaker’s brought their momentum to the floor after the break, taking a 15-point lead at the 4:01 mark of the third. However, Dartmouth did not go quietly into the night, as the Big Green went on an 11-0 run with Szabo hitting a layup just before the end of the quarter.
Dartmouth stretched its run into a 15-0 run thanks to back-to-back layups from Smith to erase the double-digit deficit and tie it up at 45. After a fancy bucket by the Quakers, Szabo tied the contest again with a pair of free throws at 47 apiece. This would be as close as the Big Green would come to pulling off the upset.
“We asked our team to press,” Koclanes said. “We’re not a pressing team and we would love to be. We were down 15 and had nothing to lose so we went ahead and pressed. Our team is adaptable and forced Penn to call a couple timeouts and that’s great. I’m proud of my team for being so adaptable and executing what we asked them to do.”
With 4:41 to play, Dartmouth fouled Penn’s Michelle Nwokedi as her shot attempt fell. After completing the three-point play less than a minute later, the Big Green fouled Nwokedi again and sent her to the line where she hit a pair of free throws. She finished the night with a team-high 22 points and was one of two Quakers to finish the night in double-figures. In the closing minutes, Penn made four more foul shots before the final buzzer to clinch their 11th conference victory.
Dartmouth returns to action tomorrow night for the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign. The game can be seen live in HD on the Ivy League Digital Network as well as ESPN3 and Watch ESPN for cable subscribers.