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Crimson Falls to Dartmouth; Headed to WNIT

Hanover, N.H. – The Harvard women’s basketball team fell to Dartmouth, 64-51, in the Ivy League finale Tuesday night at a packed Leede Arena. The Crimson battled its rival for 40 minutes but came up short as the Big Green pulled away late in the second half.

Freshman Brogan Berry scored a team-high 12 points on a 5-for-10 shooting performance. Sophomore Emma Markley was the only other Crimson to score in double figures as she put up 11 points. Classmate Claire Wheeler pulled down a team-high six rebounds for the Crimson (19-9, 11-3 Ivy League). Brittney Smith was one of three Big Green (18-10, 13-1 Ivy) players in double figures with 19.

Smith scored the first basket of the game for the Big Green after 30 seconds of action. Fourteen seconds later, Berry drained a long-range shot to put the visiting team up 3-2 after less than a minute on the court. The Crimson denied Dartmouth on its next play and took a 5-2 lead on a Jackie Alemany lay-up shortly after. Smith, Darcy Rose and Koren Schram put up points to give the home team an 8-5 lead with 16:17 left in the first half. Markley found the bottom of the hoop for Harvard’s first basket in over three minutes and cut the lead to 8-7.

Dartmouth scored seven-straight points to open up its largest lead thus far, 14-7 with 11:56 remaining. Two shots from Claire Wheeler at the free throw line cut the deficit to five. The Big Green dominated on the glass early in the game, holding a 20-6 advantage in that category midway through the first session. Rose and Smith combined for four tallies and gave their team a double-digit lead, 19-9, with 8:00 left in the first half.

A free throw and a jumper from senior Emma Moretzsohn chopped the lead to 21-14 with 6:29 on the clock. Harvard cut the lead to seven twice over the next four minutes, but a 5-0 run, including a Smith three-pointer, gave the Big Green a 12-point advantage, 28-16. Another Moretzsohn basket and a trey from Christine Matera in the final two minutes of the half allowed the Crimson to get within 28-21 heading into the locker room.

Smith led all players with eight points at the half, while Berry had five for the Crimson. The Big Green held a 33-13 advantage on the glass. Harvard shot 28.6 from the field, while Dartmouth managed 31.3 percent.

Berry drained a long jumper to close the gap at five in the opening seconds of the second stanza, before Smith and Schram scored back-to-back buckets to bring the lead back into double figures. Markley powered through the lane for her third basket of the game to cut it to single digits with 18:23 left in the contest. But a three point-play from Smith – making a lay-up and the ensuing free throw after a foul was called on Wheeler – gave the home team a 36-25 lead with 17:02 on the clock. The two teams traded baskets on their next possessions, Harvard made two key stops and used a 5-0 run, which included another Matera triple, to make it a six-point game (38-32) with 12 minutes remaining.

Dartmouth scored seven of the next 10 points, including a Schram trey to go take a 47-35 advantage with 8:37 left to play, and force Kathy Delaney-Smith to call a timeout. Coming out of the 30-second break, Matera and Markley found the bottom of the hoop and cut the deficit to eight (47-39). Rose gave the Big Green its largest lead of the game at 13 (54-41) with just over five minutes to play. A foul by Smith sent Markley to the line where she made one of her two free throws. In a fight for the rebound on Markley’s second shot, Wheeler committed her fifth foul of the game and sent Schram to the charity stripe where she made point and increased Dartmouth’s lead to 56-42.

The Crimson responded with five-straight points from Tay that cut the lead to single digits with 3:51 left in the game. But a 6-2 scoring advantage for the Big Green increased the home teams lead to 13 (62-49) with 2:12 remaining. Delaney-Smith called another timeout. Harvard put the pressure on, using a full-court press and forced a Dartmouth turnover with 1:47 on the scoreboard. But a missed shot and an Alemany foul sent Schram to the line, where she made both shots. This put the Big Green up 15. Berry scored her game-leading 12th point of the game with a jumper. Dartmouth managed to hold onto the ball for the final minute of play and claim the outright Ivy League title.

The Crimson was held to a 36.8 percent shooting effort from the field, while the Big Green connected on 41.4 percent of its shots. Dartmouth dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Crimson 51-27.

The Crimson’s season is not over as Harvard accepted an invitation to the WNIT. The WNIT brackets will be announced Monday, March 16 after the NCAA Selection show.