HANOVER, N.H. – A battle ensued in Leede Arena on Friday evening as the Dartmouth women’s basketball team hosted Brown in Ivy League action and took down the opposing team 78-73. The Big Green improve to 10-6 on the season with a 2-1 conference record, while the Bears move to 13-3 and fall to 1-2 in Ivy play.
As Dartmouth celebrated “We Back Pat” night, with other programs around the country, the coaching staff of both teams wore purple and the players of the home team wore special shooting shirts to support The Pat Summitt Foundation and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Before the game we showed Pat Summitt’s halftime talk from the national championship game against North Carolina years ago, and our halftime talk today is exactly what we were saying to our team,” said The Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82 and Family Head Coach Belle Koclanes. “It was all about composure and valuing possessions and fighting and that was awesome.”
The five-point difference in the end score reflects a game that had 14 lead changes and was tied five times, with the Bears leading a majority of the minutes, 26:32 to be exact, and the Big Green leading for only 11:05, but enough time to secure the win. Junior guard Cy Lippold led the home team with 19 points, while Isalys Quiñones and Olivia Smith scored 15 points each, Emily Slagle scored 13 and Kate Letkewicz scored 12.
Lippold posted her second double-double of the season, with 10 assists in addition to her 19 points, while Smith tallied her first of the year with 12 rebounds alongside her 15 points. Friday’s win is the third game this season with five scorers in double digits, along with the Holy Cross overtime game on Dec. 20, 2017 and the Nov. 12, 2017 game against Boston College.
“It was an awesome game, credit to Brown they are an excellent basketball team. It was an exciting game full of runs back and forth, lead changes, and two teams battling it out to earn a victory, and that is the Ivy League in a nutshell,” Koclanes said. “I’m really proud of our team, from the offensive standpoint especially in the second half, we did some really nice things with moving the ball and we are able to have victories when we have multiple players in double digits. We need to clean up our turnovers and taking care of the ball collectively, as a group, so that we can have more possessions and more opportunities to build leads, that’s something we’re working on.”
After a feisty first period the Bears held a one-point advantage, leading 21-20, before turning it on in the second. The road team held its biggest lead of the game, nine points, at the 4:30 mark of the second quarter. In the second period, Brown scored five points off turnovers while Dartmouth was continuing to shoot, but not having enough shots fall to keep the score very close until the halftime buzzer sounded.
With a five-point lead entering the second half, the Bears quietly went on a 6-2 run and were holding an eight-point advantage before sending Letkewicz to the line. The momentum shifted to the Big Green following the senior’s free throws, as the home team took back the lead for the first time since the end of the first period. Well aware that Brown was going to continue taking shots, Dartmouth played the fast game as well, but the road team remained ahead at the end of the third by two points.
As the Bears held a nine-point advantage for the second time in the game, this time with 8:22 left in the fourth period, the tides changed again. Lippold, Slagle and Smith battled to put up points while Brown’s best shooter, Shayna Mehta, and her teammates fought hard to take back the lead. With 3:37 to go, a layup from Lippold took a one-point lead, before Bears’ Justin Gaziano returned the favor and took back the advantage. Smith put in the last bucket for the Big Green before Brown had to resort to fouling in the last seconds of play, as Letkewicz and Lippold sealed the five-point victory with their free throws.
One of the best shooting games so far this season for Dartmouth, with a team shooting percentage of 48.4 from field goal range, 50 percent from three and 100 percent from the line. Friday’s game was also coincidentally the first one since last February’s game against Brown on the road in which two Big Green players had double-doubles.
Dartmouth returns to action tomorrow evening, hosting Yale at 5 p.m. in Leede Arena.