Dartmouth Women's Basketball Wins 200th in Ancient Eight

With victories in six of the last eight games, Dartmouth is playing some of the finest basketball of the season as February wraps up with four straight at home.

On February 9, the Big Green women added to their Ivy League lore, winning their 200th game in the Ancient Eight, 65-48, at Princeton.

The first women's team to reach that milestone, Dartmouth has a comfortable edge over Harvard (188) and Brown (177) in all-time Ivy victories.

Sophomores Katharine Hanks (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Katie Skelly (Lyme, N.H.), and Keri Downs (Everett, Mass.) combined for 45 points against the Tigers.

The next night at the Palestra, Dartmouth lost a heartbreaking 81-75 overtime game to the League-leading Quakers in a game that was fitting for the historic venue.

Trailing, 67-61, with 2:34 to go, the Big Green went on a 7-0 run to take a 68-67 lead with 31 seconds left. Skelly tied the game at 67 as she converted a three-point play, and senior tri-captain Samantha Berdinka (Speonk, N.Y.) hit the go-ahead free throw. Skelly extended her school-record string of consecutive free throws to 22.

Dartmouth had a chance to win the game in regulation when senior Stephanie Kinnear (Ventura, Calif.) was fouled with no time remaining. With a hostile crowd doing its best to distract her, Kinnear stepped to the line and missed the front end of two shots. She made the second, forcing the first extra session for Dartmouth since February 20, 1999.

In overtime, the Quakers made eight of 12 free throws in the final minute to win their 13th straight. With 28 points and 11 rebounds, Hanks led the Big Green with her seventh double-double of the season. Downs added 20 points.

Head coach Chris Wielgus, who has witnessed 388 games courtside for Dartmouth, was encouraged with her team's effort.

"It was a great game to participate in," Wielgus said. "You wait a lifetime to play in a game like that. There was so much adversity to overcome and we just kept fighting and never folded. At the end of the night, we certainly didn't have enough points to win, but we weren't losers."

The Big Green began February with a 57-54 loss to Columbia. Hanks had her 15th career double-double with 22 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Against the Lions, Kinnear - with 252 assists - moved ahead of Courtney Banghart '00 into fifth place on Dartmouth's all-time list.

The next night, Downs got the Green back on track, scoring a career-high 25 points in a 65-49 win over Cornell.

The charity stripe proved critical as Dartmouth scored its last dozen points of the game from the line, going 12-of-12 in the final 3:51.

Seven games remain, and Wielgus' squad is playing to the end, but with a 3-4 Ivy League record, the Big Green knows that each matchup is a preview to next season.

"The sophomores are serving notice to the League. The future is ahead of us," Wielgus said. (Mike King)