×

Big Green Thinking Big After Beating Harvard

  • Dartmouth College's Isalys Quinones drives past Harvard's Taylor Rooks during Saturday's 63-56 defeat of Harvard in the teams' Ivy League opener at Leede Arena. Quinones had 10 points and five rebounds. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Taja Edwards, Dartmouth College women's basketball assistant coach, gives point guard Cy Lippold pointers during a second-half timeout Saturday. The Big Green beat Harvard, 63-58, during the teams' Ivy League opener at Leede Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College Emily Slagle looks to pass past Harvard's Sydney Skinner during Friday's Ivy League opener at Leede Arena. The Big Green won, 63-58. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College's Kate Letkewicz is guarded by Harvard's Nani Redfor during the Ivy League teams' Saturday opener at Leede Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College's Cy Lippold prepares to launch a free throw Saturday against Harvard at Leede Arena. The Big Green won the teams' Ivy League season opener, 63-56. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, January 06, 2018

Hanover — No Dartmouth College women’s basketball team has produced a winning overall or Ivy League record since the 2008-09 season. Might the current edition be the one to end that drought?

It seems at least possible after the Big Green opened Ivy League play Saturday with a 63-58 defeat of Harvard at Leede Arena to improve to 9-5.

The visitors buried themselves by shooting 27.5 percent from the floor during the first half, and trailed by 12 points at intermission. There’s no denying, however, that Dartmouth is more polished and poised than during the past two seasons, when it went a combined 20-37 overall and 10-19 in league action. The Big Green’s home victory over the Crimson was its first since January 2013.

“I knew in preseason that we had a strong squad coming back, one with a lot of confidence,” said Kate Letkewicz, a senior guard who had nine points and six rebounds during 39 minutes. “Everyone comes to practice engaged and present and working hard. It’s been paying off.”

Diminutive point guard Cy Lippold poured in 19 points, 16 after halftime, and junior classmate and center Isalys Quinones had 10 points and five rebounds. Senior center Olivia Smith had 12 points and seven rebounds while committing four of her team’s 14 turnovers. The Crimson (7-6, 0-1) coughed up the ball 21 times, leading to 25 Dartmouth points.

“Ice is great defensively, always centered and making sure we all have help,” Lippold said of Quinones, who estimated she’s at 85 percent health three games after returning from an injury. “I think she and I work well with pick-and-rolls. I dish it down to her and she’s making shots.”

Dartmouth made 44.4 percent of its field-goal attempts, a number boosted by nailing 8 of 12 shots from the floor during the second quarter. Quinones made 5 of 10 and Smith 5 of 9. The Big Green outscored Harvard, 28-26, in the paint, a rarity during past campaigns. Also contributing was sophomore Paula Lenart, a sophomore Romanian swing player who barely saw game time last winter.

“Paula’s always had that aggressive little part of her and this year she came back in the best shape of anyone on the team,” Quinones said. “She used to get tired early, but that’s gone and she’s able to push herself more and grow more.”

Quinones also has grown, and cites playing for Puerto Rican national team last summer as something that not only sharpened her skills but schooled her in how to be more selfless and group-oriented.

“It taught me to have pride in something bigger than myself,” the Californian said. “To represent an entire (region) was incredible and I brought back more pride in wearing the color green. Now, we’re playing together and it’s really something that’s fun to be part of.”

At 6-foot-3, Quinones is certainly a force under the hoop, but she sapped some of Harvard’s passion by drilling simple shots from outside the key. The Crimson, meanwhile, couldn’t drain many efforts from similar range and also struggled with put-backs, although they nonetheless outscored the hosts, 23-6, on second-chance attempts. Taylor Rooks led Harvard with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“We love mid-range shots,” said Belle Koclanes, Dartmouth’s fifth-year coach. “Every player knows what their role is offensively and what kind of looks they can take. Ice’s are mostly at the rim, but she’s taking more from farther away.”

Dartmouth has a rematch at Harvard on Jan. 20 and then must make hay during a four-game homestand against Brown, Yale, Cornell and Columbia. Four of the Big Green’s six games after that are against league powers Pennsylvania and Princeton and four contests during that stretch are on the road.

“It takes time to build a team, and this is our first veteran one since we’ve been here,” said Koclanes, who is 48-78 overall and 18-37 in Ivy play at Dartmouth. “This group is so eager to learn and so coachable and not every team is like that. The teams that are, they’re the ones that get really good.”

Notes: Amber Mixon, a senior point guard who quit the team before the season, attended Saturday’s game. Koclanes credits the defensive standout with making Lippold better during two years of practice. … The Ivy League is eighth or ninth in most women’s basketball conference power rankings. … Attendance was listed at 779. … Dartmouth was 8-19 overall and 3-11 in Ivy League games last winter, finishing last in the Ancient Eight.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.