Down and Out

Bill Stoklosa

The women’s basketball team entered the first round of the Patriot League tournament last Saturday looking to beat a one seed in the first round for the second time in three years. The Raiders were playing a Lehigh team that by luck of the draw was playing on their home court, as Patriot League women’s basketball teams rotate hosting the first two rounds of the conference tournament every year. Last time Colgate traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Raiders led by six at the half before falling apart in the second half, so it seemed as though Colgate might have a shot to pull an upset. Unfortunately, Lehigh wasn’t going to let that happen and coasted to a 78-54 victory. The loss ended Colgate’s season with a 5-25 record (1-14 in Patriot League).

Early in the game, sophomore guard Sami Kozlowski dished to Tayler Wejnert, also a sophomore guard, who nailed a three to cut the Lehigh lead to 9-7. However, the Mountain Hawks responded with 15-6 run and took an 11-point lead with 9:34 left in the half. Lehigh extended its lead to 37-21 with just 57 seconds left in the half, but Wejnert came up with a big three, once again off an assist from Kozlowski, to cut the lead to 13 going into the half.

Unfortunately, Colgate could not build on the momentum from the big shot when it came out of the locker room to start the second stanza. After a three from guard Alex Ross, the Mountain Hawks stretched their lead out to 47-27 just 4:43 into the half. Colgate never got the deficit under 18 for the remainder of the game and fell by a 78-54 score.

Lehigh was led by superstar Alex Ross’ 17 points while fellow guard Erica Prosser chipped in 15. It was pretty much the same story for Colgate that it has been all year, as the Raiders turned the ball over too many times and shot poorly from the field. Colgate committed a staggering 23 turnovers and shot just 34.1% from the floor. Sophomore forward Georgia Gier got some major minutes for the first time in a while and came up big for the Raiders with 14 rebounds. However, offensive rebounds were a big problem for Colgate despite Gier’s performance, as Lehigh out-rebounded Colgate in that category 16-8. The fact that senior Gretchen Polinski played just four minutes in her final game as a Raider was likely a big part of the problem as well. She had been solid on the glass since being inserted into the starting lineup after first-year center Patricia Oakes went down with injury, but she was not a starter against Lehigh. The one bright spot on offense for the Raiders was sophomore guard Tayler Wejnert. She had 23 points (almost half of Colgate’s total), thanks in large part to 11-12 shooting from the charity stripe. Her performance from the line helped give Colgate one of their best free throw performances of the year, going 21-23 (91.3%).

Free throws aside, not much has improved on this team over the course of the season. The Raiders consistently performed poorly on offense and Head Coach Pam Bass has seemed unable to correct her team’s offensive woes. In the season opener against Mount Saint Mary’s four months ago, Colgate committed 23 turnovers and shot just 26.1% from the field, and not much has changed in five months. The two bookends on the season are not anomalies either. The team has averaged 19.7 turnovers per game and shot just 37% form the floor on the year.