WORCESTER, Mass. – The Dartmouth women’s basketball team faced Holy Cross in its last game before the holiday break, and ended with an overtime win over the southern-border rival, 76-74.
Senior Olivia Smith dropped a season-high 17 points while junior Cy Lippold scored 13, and Paula Lenart, Annie McKenna and Emily Slagle posted 10 points each. Dartmouth improves to 8-3 on the season while Holy Cross falls to 5-6 heading into the holiday break.
It was also kid’s “Get Fit” day at Holy Cross as the gym was packed with area school children who created an atmosphere that Dartmouth has only seen one other time this season, at the kid’s day game against New Hampshire earlier this month.
“This game, right before break and right before the holidays, it’s important to come, especially on the road, with energy but staying focused,” said head coach Belle Koclanes. “Tis the season of giving and the season to give, so that was our pregame talk, giving effort for 40 minutes, now 40 plus minutes, and I’m really pleased with the total team effort. Some stats that stood out to us as a coaching staff that we love to see is offensive rebounding and bench points.”
The first quarter was a battle between both teams as the Crusaders had an 8-6 lead at the first media timeout, and then went on a quick 8-2 run, and ended the first quarter with an 18-10 advantage. Entering the second quarter, the Big Green made necessary adjustments and settled in to the game, holding the home team to only eight points the entire period.
With an eight-point lead at halftime, Dartmouth came out firing into the third period but was stifled by turnovers, a handful of three-point field goals and free throws from Holy Cross. The home team had a three-point advantage at the end of the third, 54-51, ahead of what would turn out to be an aggressive fourth quarter.
The final 10 minutes of regulation in view, the Big Green traded baskets with the Crusaders but were trailing for the majority of the period. With 2:49 left in the fourth, Smith scored a layup assisted by Slagle to tie the game up 64-64. Holy Cross’ second-best scorer Infinity Thomas-Waheed responded with a jumper to take the two-point lead just 10 seconds later, and after three missed shots from the road team, Tricia Byrne got another bucket and a four-point advantage for the team in purple.
As the Crusaders came back down the court, Lippold grabbed one of her six steals and went down for a layup, cutting into the score, and 23 seconds later hit a jumper to tie it up 68-68, where the score would remain for the last 30 seconds of regulation.
Dartmouth opened the first seconds of overtime with a 4-0 jump, and battled to keep Holy Cross from catching up, but Thomas Waheed scored back-to-back buckets to take a 74-73 lead with 1:04 left to play. Lenart’s good free throw with 26 seconds remaining tied the game up again, before Lippold was fouled on a steal and sent to the line with five seconds to go. Draining both of her free throws, the guard brought home the win for the Big Green after a 45-minute battle.
“Holy Cross is an excellent team and they always bring it, they throw the whole kitchen sink at you. We saw one-three-one zone today, we saw two-three zone, we saw full-court pressure, so you have to be alert, aware and on point,” Koclanes said. “It’s always a great game between our programs, but again so proud of the total team effort, we had five players in double-digit scoring, and that’s what we want.”
Dartmouth will have six days off to rest before preparing to take on Albany on December 30 and Binghamton on December 31, both games will be played in New York.