DURHAM — It was a tale of two programs on Friday as both of the state’s Division I women’s college basketball teams met and showed why one is on the rise and the other is in a rebuild.
The Dartmouth women dominated UNH in front of a Lundholm Gym crowd of 1,557 en route to a 62-42 win and the Big Green’s second straight win in the series.
“We haven’t beaten UNH at their home since the coaching staff was here, so that was big for us,” Dartmouth senior Cy Lippold said. “To get it back to back means a lot to the staff and the team.”
The Big Green thumped New Hampshire in every way possible. Aside from leading for more than 37 minutes, Dartmouth outhustled the Wildcats on every corner of the floor. Nine players scored for Dartmouth and a dozen pulled down at least one rebound.
The Big Green dominated offensive rebounds 12-4 and forced 18 UNH turnovers that turned into 25 points.
Dartmouth was led by a career-high 21-point performance from junior Annie McKenna. Lippold added 11 while junior Paula Lenart had nine points and five rebounds.
“I didn’t really realize it was my career high until after the game,” McKenna said. “I just took what they gave me. Really just kept the pace going. It didn’t feel like I was scoring as much.”
The endless lineup combinations were the motor behind Dartmouth’s win as UNH was never able to figure out the five on the floor. Dartmouth shot 43.8 percent from three and used a series of backdoor cuts to open up easy buckets. Dartmouth did all this with leading scorer Isalys Quinone held to three points. She came in averaging 15 points per game.
The depth of the team, along with the ability to score in a variety of ways, bodes well for a Big Green squad looking to make noise in a crowded Ivy League race this season.
“We’re constantly working on our skill sets every day to be able to score in a variety of ways,” Dartmouth coach Belle Koclanes said. “We want to be able to say you’re focusing your time on (Quinones)? OK. We have Cy, Mack, Paula. Pick your poison. I was pleased with the team’s effort.”
While the Big Green seem to be motoring along into conference play, the Wildcats seem to be doing the opposite. Hampered by injuries, the Wildcats looked listless all game against the Green.
UNH lost every quarter of the game including a 16-8 second quarter that saw Dartmouth open a 13-point gap at halftime.
“We knew this was going to be a year with inexperience and growing pains,” UNH coach Maureen Magarity said. “Now you throw in all those injuries into the mix and we have no depth. I’m trying to play as many as I can to get that experience. I want us to come back (from Christmas break) with a defensive toughness about us. Those are things that we have to control.”
After a momentum-building 74-62 win over Holy Cross on Dec. 9 the Wildcats have sustained two losses in which they failed to crack 50 points.
Junior Ashley Storey had 12 points against Dartmouth while senior Alli Gribbin had 11. The team shot 32.5 percent from the field and 55 percent from the free throw line. First-year player Kari Brekke had seven points and seven assists.
UNH was minus-12 in points in the paint and minus-9 in terms of second half points.
“I definitely think it was bad decision making,” said sophomore Amanda Torres, of Hudson. “I think a lot of times when we got the ball, we thought to drive to the hoop. We didn’t look for kickouts or get it to the open man. They sped us up and played their game.”
The Wildcats are without sophomore Maggie Ahearn, who was a starter to begin the season, for the foreseeable future. UNH hosts Princeton, coached by former Souhegan High star Courtney Banghart, next Saturday before beginning America East play after the calendar flips.