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‘Ugly’ Loss for Green

Dartmouth Drops Fourth in Row

Dartmouth College point guard Nicola Zimmer goes up for a shot last night against Brown’s Natalie Ball, left, and Sophie Bikofsky (22). Zimmer made only 3-of-14 field-goal attempts and was 0-of-6 from 3-point range as the Big Green lost the Ivy League game, 59-39. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth College point guard Nicola Zimmer goes up for a shot last night against Brown’s Natalie Ball, left, and Sophie Bikofsky (22). Zimmer made only 3-of-14 field-goal attempts and was 0-of-6 from 3-point range as the Big Green lost the Ivy League game, 59-39. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »

Hanover — Chris Wielgus didn’t sugarcoat her description of the Dartmouth College women’s basketball team’s 59-39 loss to Brown last night.

“That was ugly,’’ said the Big Green coach. “A meltdown. I am beyond disappointed.”

The hosts, who lost their fourth consecutive contest to drop to 6-17 overall and 4-5 in the Ivy League, not only looked lethargic and uninspired, they allowed the Bears to snap an eight-game losing streak and post just their second victory in Ancient Eight play.

Dartmouth committed 20 turnovers, leading to 28 Brown points, and surrendered 16 second-chance points to the visitors, while scoring three such points itself. The Big Green connected on only 3-of-15 shots from 3-point range, but could only watch as the Bears sank 10 treys, including a 7-of-14 stretch after halftime.

“Defense is what we hang our hat on, and our defense was bad,’’ said Wielgus, who added that her roster is reeling from an array of minor injuries. “We needed to get back fast enough to match up in transition and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Not among the injured was sophomore forward Abbey Schmitt, who entered averaging eight points per game, but managed just three last night. Sophomore center Tia Dawson grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, but didn’t score in 30 minutes. Junior point guard Nicola Zimmer was 3-of-14 from the floor and 0-of-6 from behind the arc.

“I wasn’t all here tonight,’’ Schmitt said. “I wasn’t aggressive enough or rebounding enough. I just didn’t do my best and I think it was mental.”

Senior guard Faziah Steen had 10 points and freshman forward Lakin Roland had nine. Dartmouth trailed 24-16 at halftime and by as many as 22 points following the break.

“We talked (at halftime) about having to get to the rim, getting off the blocks and using ball screens,’’ Wielgus said of her instructions to her players. “Which they didn’t do, to be honest. This is the ups and downs of a young team.”

Said Steen: “During our winning streak, our defense was everything. It was fueling our offense and keeping teams below their scoring average. Offensively, we’re not able to get open on the wings and get into our sets quickly enough. Then we’re rushing to screen and get shots.”

Dartmouth won four consecutive games starting in late January, including an eight-point victory at Brown. But unless the Big Green can swing momentum dramatically back in its favor, it’s not hard to envision the season ending with four more setbacks, to Pennsylvania and Princeton at home next weekend and at Cornell and Columbia on the road.

“We weren’t very cohesive this weekend and confidence could be a problem,’’ said Steen, the lone senior on a roster that includes four sophomores and seven freshmen. “When you’re younger, you have to learn mental toughness and how to work through the losses.

“It’s about finishing the season strong and having pride in ourselves, no matter what the standings say. We have to be ready to work, to keep on pushing.”

Notes: Brown is 8-16 overall and 2-8 in Ivy play. ... Dartmouth has yet to reschedule its Feb. 10 home game against Cornell, which was postponed because of a snowstorm. It seems possible the contest might not be made up if its outcome wouldn’t affect the first- and second-place league finishers. The Ivy champion earns an automatic NCAA Tournament bid, while the runner-up receives a Women’s National Invitational Tournament slot. ... Dartmouth was outrebounded, 40-30. ... Dartmouth’s 39 points was its fewest in league play this winter. ... Big Green freshman Kasey Crockett’s two points were her first in college.

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