Dartmouth pilfers Ivy opener, 63-62, from Harvard

Dartmouth’s Katie Douglas forced Harvard’s Mackenzie Barta into a late turnover and Annie McKenna took the loose ball in for the layup to give the Green a conference-opening 63-62 upset of the Crimson on Saturday afternoon.

The Green (7-7, 1-0 Ivy) used an 11-0 run over the last two-plus minutes to take a 25-15 lead after the first quarter.  Dartmouth’s Anne Luce hit a three, the team’s seventh over the first 12-plus minutes of the game, to stretch its advantage to 31-17.

Harvard (9-5, 0-1) tightened its defensive effort over the rest of the half, holding Dartmouth to only one more made basket and ending the second quarter on a 14-3 run.

The Crimson, which only made one three-pointer over the first 20 minutes, hit five in the third quarter to jump start its offense.  The Green, meanwhile, shook off their second quarter slump to keep pace.  A Jimena Abejon deep ball with 30 seconds left in the quarter tied the game at 48 heading into the last stanza.

After five lead changes in the first half of the fourth quarter, Harvard’s Tess Sussman hit a three to open up a 60-56 lead for the visitors.

Layups by McKenna, her first points since the first quarter, and Jeannie Boehm kept it a four-point game with 3:30 to go in regulation.

A minute later, Douglas nailed her fifth three-pointer of the day to make it a 62-61 game.

With the same score at the 30-second mark, Dartmouth’s defense forced Harvard into an off-balance three at the end of the shot clock. Barta’s long distance shot was off, but Boehm was there to grab the offensive rebound, her fourth of the day.

Harvard called timeout with 25 seconds remaining and Dartmouth having committed zero fouls in the fourth quarter.

The Green committed three quick fouls over the next five seconds, with the third forcing McKenna to the bench with her fourth of the day.  A meeting of the referees reversed the decision and gave the foul to Elle Louie, bringing McKenna back to the court.

After another Dartmouth foul, committed before any time came off the clock, the Crimson were able to inbound the ball and chose another timeout.

Boehm, one of nation’s weakest free throw shooters, inbounded the ball to Barta, who opted to dribble instead of holding onto the ball and letting Dartmouth send her to the line.

That’s when Douglas left Lola Mullaney and stripped the rock into McKenna’s hands for the go-ahead bucket.

Harvard had one last chance, but Dartmouth’s defense refused to allow any shot.

The Green struggled from inside the arc, shooting only 32 percent, and were outrebounded by 12 (39-27).  However, their impressive 13-24 (54 percent) performance from beyond the arc saved the day.

Douglas led the way for the Green with 19 points, while McKenna added 15 and Paula Lenart had 10.  For Harvard, Mullaney had 16 points, Barta put up 14 and Rachel Levy added 12 off the bench, while Boehm was just shy of a triple-double (eight points, eight assists, 18 rebounds).

This is the second time in three years Dartmouth has opened league play with a win at home over Harvard.  In 2018, the Green could not follow up with the sweep when the teams met at Lavietes Pavilion.  We’ll have to wait until the 25th to see if things will be different in 2020.