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Big Second Half from Halejian Can’t Keep Yale from Falling to Dartmouth

Sarah Halejian. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Sarah Halejian. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Sophomore Guard Scores All 15 Points in Final Period


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — While it is still early, the Yale University women's basketball team's chances of making noise in the Ivy League's race for two postseason bids took a major hit this weekend with back-to-back home losses to both Harvard and a Dartmouth team that has not beaten Yale since 2009.

Faziah Steen scored 19 points, 10 coming in the second half, to help Dartmouth hold off a second-half charge by Yale in a 63-48 win inside John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday night.

The loss drops Yale to 6-12 overall, 1-3 in Ivy League play, while Dartmouth improved to 5-13, 3-1 in Ivy League play.

It was Dartmouth's first win over Yale since March 6, 2009, when the Big Green defeated the Bulldogs 61-51 in Hanover, N.H.

Sophomore guard Sarah Halejian was held scoreless in the first half, but she helped spark a second-half rally, scoring all 15 of her points in the second half to lead the Bulldogs. Senior captain Allie Messimer matched her career-high with 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half.

Tia Dawson was a force inside for Dartmouth, scoring 10 points to go with 11 rebounds and three blocks.

For the second straight night, Yale jumped out to a small early lead before watching its opponent take over with a momentum-seizing run. Against Harvard on Friday, Yale led 5-4 before the Crimson took over with a 17-2 run. Tonight against Dartmouth, the Bulldogs led 6-4 at the 15:41 mark thanks to 3-pointers from Messimer and junior guard Janna Graf, but Dartmouth used a 18-5 run to pull ahead 22-11 with 6:02 left in the half. After trailing 6-4, the Big Green outscored the Bulldogs 26-9 to close the half and go into the halftime break with a commanding 30-15 lead.

Yale was held to just 15 first-half points, shooting just 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) in the half and 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range. The 15 first-half points is the lowest output in a half this season.

Yale turned this around in a hurry to start the second half, opening the half with a 14-2 run that trimmed the deficit to 32-29 with 14:51 remaining. All 14 of Yale's points came from Halejian (8) and Messimer (6).

That, however, was as close as Yale could get. Dartmouth came alive with a 12-2 run to stretch its lead to 44-31 with 11:29 left, with six of those points coming from Steen.

The Bulldogs could get no closer than nine points the rest of the way, falling two games behind Harvard and Dartmouth for second place in the Ivy League standings. The top two teams in the league earn automatic postseason bids, with the League champion earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and the second-place team earning a bid in the WNIT. With 10 Ivy League games left, even a two-game deficit will be a tough mountain to climb for the Bulldogs.

Penn (Friday) and Princeton (Saturday) will come to New Haven next weekend to face Yale, with the Bulldogs celebrating Yale Athletics Pink Zones on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity