ITHACA, N.Y. – The Dartmouth women’s basketball team fell in the last seconds at Cornell on Sunday afternoon to end the regular season, 51-49.
With the loss the Big Green move to 15-12 overall with a 7-7 Ivy League record, while the Big Red finish their season 7-20 with a 3-11 conference mark.
Senior Kate Letkewicz led the offensive effort with 17 points and junior Cy Lippold chipped in 12, but the offense was unable to break the home team’s defense enough to keep the lead late in the game.
“Tough day today for our team, have to give credit to Cornell, they always bring it and they always play so tough,” said The Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82 and Family Head Coach Belle Koclanes. “They took us out of our offensive actions, and we had a tough time finding a groove, but we fought. Our team battled and it looked like we were going to put our foot on the accelerator, but Cornell didn’t go away.”
The opening 20 minutes were a struggle for the road team offensively, with a shooting percentage of 31 at halftime and down 30-21 to Cornell. This season Dartmouth has averaged 31 points in the first half, the home team’s defense was visibly ready to shut down the pace of the Big Green who play a fast-paced offense and aim to score in the beginning of the shot clock.
Dartmouth found its first lead of the game with under three left in the third, taking a two-point advantage 35-33 before the Big Red responded and took the lead back 37-35 with 30 seconds to go. Junior Emily Dryden found the hoop, putting in a layup to tie it, 37-37, at the end of the third quarter.
In the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams continued to fight with strong defense and finally Letkewicz broke the stalemate with a layup followed by a Lippold jumper and the road team took a four-point lead with 7:46 to go.
The Big Green held their lead and extended it by three points, 44-41 before Cornell’s Danielle Jorgensen hit a three with 4:07 to go and tied it up again.
In the last minute the Big Red took the lead 49-47, before Letkewicz went to the line making two free throws with 28.6 to go, tied up 49-49.
The remaining seconds would end up coming down to the wire, as Cornell’s Dylan Higgins made a layup as time ran out, and Dartmouth called a timeout with 0.4 seconds to go. The Big Green had possession in front of their bench, only needing two points to take it into overtime or three points to take the win. Emily Slagle in-bounded to Andi Norman who shot from the corner as the ball bounced off the rim and time actually ran out, with the Big Red winning 51-49.
“It hurts now, but it should certainly not take away from celebrating this season,” Koclanes said. “The first winning season since 2009, with so many awesome accomplishments that this team earned and we want to highlight. Overall it was an incredible season, we’re making so much progress here as a program, and we are going to miss our seniors tremendously and the legacy that they’ve been able to leave.”
After a strong shooting performance at Columbia on Saturday, the Big Green struggled in Ithaca, shooting 36.4 percent from the field and only 21.1 percent from three, remaining solid at the line with 71.4 percent. The road team led for only 5:49 through the entire game, while Cornell had a lead for 25 minutes and 42 seconds,
Dartmouth finishes the regular season with the best record since the 2008-09 season, and several records broken throughout the year. Letkewicz has now tallied 1,114 career points putting her 14th all time in scoring, among the six program records she has inked her name in. Norman remains 10th all time in three-point field goals made and attempted. The Big Green finish fifth in the Ivy League after being selected to end in last place in the preseason poll.