HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth women’s basketball team began its Ivy League slate on Saturday night and entered the second half of the season with a win over Harvard, 63-56. Saturday’s win is the first time the Big Green have taken down the Crimson at home since January 26, 2013, before The Gail Koziara Boudreaux '82 and Family Head Coach Belle Koclanes was hired.
The win improves Dartmouth to 9-5, and 1-0 in the league while Harvard moves to 7-6 and 0-1 to start conference action.
“We’re really excited and happy with the way our team played tonight,” Koclanes said. “My focus day in and day out is getting our team better, that’s what I focus on, that’s what I care about, and to keep motivating and inspiring this group. Harvard is an excellent program, an excellent team, and every team in the Ivy League is going to be a battle.”
Junior Cy Lippold led the Big Green offense with 19 points, with only three at halftime the guard dropped 16 points in the second half to hold the lead. Two other players scored double-digit points, with 12 from senior Olivia Smith and 10 from junior Isalys Quiñones.
As Dartmouth held a 12-point lead at the half, the Crimson came out strong to play in the third quarter. Taylor Hooks hit back-to-back buckets for Harvard to put the road team within seven points, as the Big Green struggled to score in the opening minutes of the third.
A jumper by Smith followed by a three from Lippold in the last three minutes of the period gave Dartmouth the biggest cushion it would have the entire game, leading by 14 points, but the Crimson were not backing down. In the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Rooks and teammate Sydney Skinner paired for four points to cut into the home team’s lead.
Both teams battled through the end of the fourth, Harvard coming within five points of tying it up at the 1:22 mark, but were forced to foul as time was running out. A pair of free throws from junior Kealy Brown created another two-possession difference for the Big Green with 32 seconds to play, and Lippold’s final foul shots put the game away in the end.
Dartmouth returned to its home court on Saturday for the first time in almost one month, as the familiarity of Leede Arena no doubt helped the team in terms of shooting. Shooting 44.4 percent from field goal range and 31.3 from three is the kind of form the Big Green usually play in, adding a night shooting 100 from the line against the Crimson.
With almost two weeks off, Dartmouth will return to action on Saturday, January 20, in Cambridge, Massachusetts to face Harvard on its home court.
“You have to prepare well, you have to stay present and focused every single night, regardless of what the opponent’s jersey says – that is our approach all the time,” Koclanes said. “Harvard is very successful when they knock down three’s and on the glass, you saw they out-rebounded us today, that’s a major growth opportunity of ours, and we gave them some open looks in transition, so we’re definitely going to key in on those areas as we move forward.”