The women’s basketball team’s first Patriot League homestand went poorly, as Colgate dropped a 63-51 decision to Army and a 64-52 game to Lafayette last week.
The Raiders went into a January 10 game at home against the Black Knights of Army looking to start out their Patriot League schedule on a winning note after going winless in the League last season. Unfortunately, turnovers and poor foul shooting doomed the Raiders.
Army dominated the early portions of the game by stifling Colgate’s offense. With 7:19 left in the half, guard Alex McGuire laid the ball in to give the Black Knights a 21-8 advantage. However, Colgate was not dead yet, responding with a 9-0 run. First-year guard Candice Green responded with two straight baskets, and then sophomore forward Krista Moser hit a layup off a dish from sophomore guard Sami Kozlowski. Moser then passed to junior guard Katie Garman, who hit a three. Army ended the run with 3:22 left in the half with two made free throws from McGuire, but Garman nailed another huge three to cut the Army advantage to three. After both teams traded free throws, Green nailed a jumper with three seconds left. The halftime score was 25-23.
Army regained momentum and took control of the game right off the bat in the second half as McGuire hit a big three, which helped key a 16-4 run. The run dealt a blow to Colgate that they just could not recover from, and the Raiders never got the deficit back down to single digits again. Colgate trailed by as many as 20 before falling by a score of 63-51.
The key to Army’s success was simple a stellar performance from Alex McGuire, who had 21 points, and advantages from the foul stripe and the turnover department. Army had just three more free throw attempts then Colgate, but they shot 82.6% from the line to Colgate’s 55%. Colgate also turned the ball 17 times, compared to Army’s nine. Colgate actually had the same number of offensive and defensive rebounds as Army and outshot the Black Knights from the floor, 38.8% to 35.8%, but their mistakes from the line and in the ball control department prevented them from pulling off the win.
However, all was not doom and gloom for the Raiders. First-year center Patricia Oakes, named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the fourth time, recorded her second career double-double and led all Raiders with 11 points and 11 rebounds. However, her 4-14 shooting from the field and 3-7 shooting from the line will need to improve as the Patriot League schedule continues. The only other Raider in double figures against Army was Katie Garman. After not playing at all in Colgate’s last game against Bryant, Garman got 21 minutes of action and was extremely productive, going 4-5 from the field (including 2-2 from long range) for 10 points. Garman has been solid from downtown all year leading the team by shooting 38.7% from downtown. Giving Garman more playing time seems to be a good idea, and if she can continue to knock down her threes she could be a huge asset for the team down the stretch.
Colgate entered Wednesday’s game at home against the Lafayette Leopards hoping to even their Patriot League record at 1-1. Unfortunately, thanks to an inability to score in the game’s closing minutes, Colgate extended its losing streak in the Patriot League to 18 games. The streak extends back to the 2007 Patriot League Tournament when eight-seed Colgate upset one-seed Bucknell.
Lafayette looked like it might be taking control of the game with 8:33 left in the first half when Emily Garner laid the ball into the basket to put Lafayette up 22-14. However, Colgate responded with a three from Garman and two Green free throws, cutting the lead to three. Lafayette scored the next three to take a 25-19 lead, but sophomore guard Tayler Wejnert responded with a three-pointer. Colgate eventually grabbed a 28-27 lead thanks to four straight points off a layup from first-year center Patricia Oakes and two foul shots from Moser. Lafayette responded with a three from Cristin Zavocki, but Garman answered right back for the Raiders with a huge three to give Colgate a 31-30 advantage with just 1:57 left in the half. However, Lafayette closed the half on a 7-1 run to take a 37-32 lead going into the break.
Lafayette continued to hold a small advantage until 9:28 left in the second half when first-year guard Kelly Korkowski nailed a two-point jumper to give the Raiders a 43-42 advantage. But Lafayette would eventually regain a three-point lead thanks to a two point jumper from Wright and a layup from Zavocki, making the score 47-44. A Korkowski jumper and Garman free throw knotted the score at 47. Lafayette scored the next three thanks to a foul shot from Garner and a two point jumper from Jessica Spicer. Not to be deterred, Colgate responded with the next four points thanks to a layup and a pair of free throws from Oakes that gave Colgate a 51-50 advantage with 3:07 left. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, as the only scoring Colgate would have the rest of the way came from a Kozlowski free throw. Elizabeth Virgin responded to Oakes’ free throw with a two-point jumper to give Lafayette a 52-51 lead. Then after a Garman turnover, Wright laid the ball in to give Lafayette a three-point advantage. After Korkowski missed a shot, Virgin nailed a jumper to put the Leopards up five. A Kelly Korkowski turnover led to a Wright bucket, and Lafayette capped off their run with a layup from Garner, which gave the Leopards an insurmountable 60-51 lead with only 57 seconds left.
The key to Lafayette’s victory is not too difficult to figure out. Colgate led the game with 3:07 left, but scored only one point for the rest of the game. The Raiders will have to find a way to execute better in crunch time if they hope to snap their Patriot League losing streak. Turnovers were once again a big issue as well, as Colgate had 24 turnovers to Lafayette’s 12. On the bright side, Colgate dominated on the boards pulling down 34 to Lafayette’s 21. However, the turnover differential combined with better shooting from Lafayette (47.9% for Lafayette and 41.5% for Colgate) made the difference.
LaKeisha Wright led Lafayette with 16 points, followed by Cristin Zavocki with 15. Oakes had a phenomenal day with her second consecutive double-double. She had 12 points and 10 rebounds. She also went 3-4 from the field and 6-8 from the line. Korkowski was second on the team with eight points on 4-6 shooting from the field. Candice Green and Katie Garman also turned in solid performances with seven points each. Senior guard Gretchen Polinski was conspicuously absent for the second straight game. Though Polinski has struggled this year it is shocking that Coach Bass has not been able to work her into the rotation at all. After scoring over 15 points in Colgate’s final four non-conference games Tayler Wejnert has cooled down during the Patriot League schedule scoring three points against Army and six against Lafayette. If she can regain the form she had earlier in the year, she can make a huge difference with this team.