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It’s not every week that a team gets two chances to beat the reigning Ivy champion, but this is Dartmouth’s week.
The Big Green (5-6, 0-1 Ivy) lost to the Harvard women’s basketball team (9-4, 1-0) last Saturday, 56-53, and will take a shot at quick revenge at 6 p.m.tomorrow night at Lavietes Pavillion.
“Dartmouth is our archrival, or at least one of them,” said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. “Everyone seems to think they are our archrival. I think Dartmouth is a frontrunner for the league title along with us. We can make things really uncomfortable for them if we can win this game on Saturday. So I think the pressure is on them.”
The game features two of the league’s stars in Harvard junior forward Hana Peljto and Dartmouth forward Katherine Hanks. Their last meeting was Peljto’s return to action after missing three games with a sprained MCL, and while her presence was more than welcome, the Crimson chemistry should be better coordinated this time around.
Hanks tallied 19 points last weekend and containing her better is one of Harvard’s goals.
Another objective is to work on rebounding, something the team focused on in practice this week.
“They were crushing the weak side boards in our zone, and we weren’t dropping back enough to block them out,” said junior forward Tricia Tubridy. “We’ve been practicing having the guards box out a little more and the forwards being more disciplined.”
A continual blight has been the 20-plus turnovers the Crimson has been racking up per game. The team attributes this to its aggressive defensive strategy leading to a frenetic offensive pace.
“A lot of our turnovers are coming out of transition offense, so [we have to] just think twice before trying to make a difficult pass,” Tubridy said.
One solution for Harvard’s harried offense is to hold onto the ball longer, another aspect the Crimson has been practicing, especially after its success running its offense against Dartmouth.
“We want to work the offense for like 10 to 15 seconds more than we have,” Tubridy said. “[Delaney-Smith] said the average is about seven seconds.”
Though Harvard came out on top last weekend, the Big Green’s post presence and the 20 points Dartmouth registered on free throws call for improvement tomorrow.
“We were letting the ball get in too easily to the post players,” Delaney-Smith said. “And I thought we were sending them to the line a little bit too much.”
The Big Green may also demonstrate more scoring prowess this weekend, as Dartmouth shot a mere 26.7 percent from the floor and an abysmal 1-for-27 (3.7 percent) from behind the arc.
Freshman point guard Angela Soriago has been starting over senior Keri Downs. Downs was second in Ivy three-point shooting percentages last year, and could possibly stimulate the Big Green’s perimeter attack.
“We’re very confident but we know that they didn’t shoot well last Saturday night,” Tubridy said. “We can’t give up so many open shots.”
—Staff writer Jessica T. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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