Dartmouth, Harvard to clash Saturday

Updated: March 9, 2005, 10:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Dartmouth controlled its own destiny.

But in the end, the Big Green just couldn't hold on. And now, Dartmouth and Harvard will play Saturday in a one-game playoff to determine which team will receive the Ivy League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played at 4 p.m. ET at the Pizzitola Sports Center at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Dartmouth (16-10, 12-2) would have clinched sole possession of the regular-season title with a win at Harvard (20-7, 12-2) on Tuesday. Instead, the Big Green blew a 15-point second-half lead as Harvard pulled out a 70-67 victory.

Harvard, which used a 24-4 run to take a five-point lead after the break, won a share of its ninth Ivy League title and three of the past four crowns. It's the third championship the Crimson have shared with Dartmouth.

Senior center Reka Cserny, a five-time Ivy League player of the week from Budapest, Hungary, scored 20 points and added seven rebounds. Cserny played all 40 minutes and added four assists and four steals.

Four Dartmouth players reached double figures. Center Elise Morrison had 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Jeannie Cullen hit four 3-pointers, including two in the final 32 seconds, en route to a team-high 16 points. Ashley Taylor added 14 points and four assists, and Angie Soriaga chipped in 11 points.

After taking a 25-22 lead at the break, Dartmouth outscored the Crimson 20-9 in the first six minutes of the second half. Soriaga keyed the rally with all 11 of her points in that span. The junior point guard knocked down three shots from behind the arc and added a layup to give the Big Green a 45-31 advantage with just more than 14 minutes to play.

Dartmouth held its biggest lead, 51-36, after Cullen hit a trey with 10:45 left, but Harvard used a 14-2 spurt over the next 3:44 to climb back into the contest. Maureen McCaffery scored nine of her 16 points during that span, the final basket coming on a jumper to cut the lead to 53-50 with 7:01 remaining.

Cserny took over after that. She had 12 points in the final 6:01, including a free throw with 1:36 to play that made it 65-57. Jessica Holsey hit four free throws down the stretch to ice the win for Harvard, which avenged a 73-70 overtime loss at Dartmouth on Jan. 8.

This will be the third Ivy League women's basketball playoff for the NCAA berth. Dartmouth has been involved in all three, losing to Brown in overtime in 1994 and defeating Princeton in 1999.

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