The Dartmouth women’s basketball team gave the top-ten nationally-ranked Virginia Cavaliers a giant scare in the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling 71-68 on March 16 in Charlottesville, Va.
Brandi Jones ’95 hit one of Dartmouth’s nine three-pointerswith 9:15 to play to give the Big Green, the 14th seed in the East Region, a 54-51 lead over the third-seeded Cavaliers.
But Virginia’s Wendy Palmer scored five quick points to give the Cavaliers at 56-54 lead that they would not relinquish. Palmer led all scorers with 26 points in the game.
With 3:29 to play Virginia had extended its lead to 69-61 after a three-pointer by Monick Foote and an inside basket from Palmer. Dartmouth never got closer than four points until a three-pointer by Sally Annis ’97 with three seconds left.
Dartmouth trailed 44-31 at halftime after Virginia finished the first half with a 12-4run.
But Dartmouth exploded out of the locker room with a 21-6 run to take the lead. “We kind of realized that this is the last chance we had to play really hard,” said Captain Ilsa Webeck ’94.
“We didn’t really try to do too much differently [in the second half],” Captain Betsy Gilmore ’94 said. “At the start we were just switching up on them … trying to catch them off guard.”
Dartmouth was hampered for much of the game by the absence of Webeck, the team’s leading rebounder.
Webeck got in early foul trouble and only played 15 minutes before fouling out with less than a minute remaining.
“I was out for most of the game,” Webeck said.”Everyone else played great but it would have been nice if we were our 14 strong.”
Virginia out-rebounded the Big Green 42-27, including a 14-5 edge on the offensive glass.
Despite the final, Dartmouth gave the Cavaliers a much tougher game than Virginia expected.
Before the game,Cavalier center Jeffra Gausepohl said Virginia was mad about losing in the ACC Tournament and that she felt “sorry for Dartmouth,” according to the Valley News.
The Valley News also reported that Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan discussedhow tough Virginia’s ‘s second-round opponent, Florida, would be, before the Dartmouth game.
“We try not to think too much about all that,” Gilmore said. “We knew Virginia probably wasn’t taking us all that seriously … we worry about Dartmouth, not really about the other team. The intensity didn’t come from what they were saying.”
Virginia’s victory extended its home-court winning streak to 54 games.Only Ohio State has come within three points of Virginia during the streak, also losing by three last year.
Undefeated Connecticut eliminated Virginia from the tournament with a 67-63 win on Saturday.