Green Drops 12th In Row
Coach: ‘This Isn’t Good Enough’
Dartmouth forward Abbey Schmitt, center, eyes the basket last night while splitting Holy Cross defenders Lisa Mifsud, left, and Amy Lepley (32). (Valley News — Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Former Dartmouth women's basketball coach Chris Wielgus has taken a job as the director of women's basketball operations at the University of Massachusetts. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth's Daisy Jordan attempts a foul shot during last night's nonconference loss to Holy Cross. The Big Green fell for the 12th consecutive time. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Chris Wielgus’ voice softened when asked what she told her Dartmouth women’s basketball players following last night’s 64-52 loss to Holy Cross.
“I told them they had to have a better effort,” the 30th-year head coach said. “That they have to work harder. That this isn’t good enough.”
Wielgus, who has won 12 Ivy League titles in 27 seasons at Dartmouth, but whose program is 14-55 during the last three seasons, paused for a moment before uttering one more sentence.
“I told them the truth.”
It’s downright ugly at this point. The Big Green has lost 12 consecutive games, one short of tying the program record, which was set last season. If the Big Green can’t win at Massachusetts (2-12) on Sunday, it’s not hard to imagine the streak stretching on into the distance.
A home-and-home matchup with formidable Harvard comes next, followed by road games at Brown and Yale. The next time Dartmouth (1-12) might conceivably be favored would come against visiting Columbia (2-10) on Feb. 8.
Queried about her team’s stretch of futility, Wielgus first tried a joke, but quickly became serious.
“I’ve broken a lot of records here,” she said. “But no, I don’t like to lose and (the streak) is what it is. You have to take the good with the bad, but I have enormous faith in these young kids. Some of them did a remarkable job out there.”
Dartmouth did hold a 52-32 rebounding edge last night, but a cynic would point out that the team shot only 27 percent from the floor, which accounted for numerous chances to grab caroms off the iron or backboard.
The Big Green trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half before Holy Cross began emptying its bench, and the hosts committed 28 turnovers, off which the Crusaders scored 28 points. The visitors, who improved to 7-6, also held a 38-18 scoring advantage in the paint and a 12-2 lead in fast-break points. Holy Cross shot 45 percent from the floor.
“Our defense could have kept us in this game if we’d had enough offensive conversions,” said guard Kamala Thompson, who sat with her head in one hand while waiting to conduct a postgame interview. “At the start, our shots weren’t falling and later on, we weren’t getting open enough to get easy shots.”
Dartmouth played without starting point guard Nicola Zimmer, who’s nursing a knee injury, and starting shooting guard Faziah Steen missed a chunk of the second half with an injury of her own. The Big Green trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half before pulling within 28-20 at halftime. However, Holy Cross embarked on a 12-4 run immediately after intermission.
Steen, Dartmouth’s lone senior, led the team with nine points, but made only 3-of-13 field-goal attempts. Freshman point guard Kaitana Martinez, playing just her fifth college game after overcoming knee surgery, had eight points while shooting 2-of-7 from the floor and committing six turnovers.
Sophomore forward Abbey Schmitt had eight points and six rebounds and classmate and guard Thompson had seven points and 11 rebounds. Freshman center Lauren Taiclet had seven points and three rebounds in only 10 minutes. Starting center Tia Dawson, a sophomore, had three points and 11 rebounds, but made only 1-of-7 field-goal tries and missed several easy put-back shots. The 6-foot-2 Iowan is averaging 4.7 points per game after putting up 7.4 her rookie year.
“It was a bad night; we didn’t play well,” Wielgus said. “We didn’t start out strong enough and we threw the ball away too many times. It was a lot of inexperience out there, but we were careless with the basketball and there’s no excuse for that.”
Said Thompson: “It’s hard to pick up your spirits for the next game. You’re so upset after each loss, but you have to try and not have that when you start a new game.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.