Battle in the Bronx

On Saturday, December 28, the Colgate’s women’s basketball team traveled to New York City to kick off the Fordham University Holiday Classic with a battle against the Bryant Bulldogs. Unfortunately, the Raiders did not advance to the finals of the four-team tournament, falling to the Bulldogs by a 71-59 margin. However, Colgate did manage to take third place with a 74-57 win over Norfolk State the following day in the consolation game. Host Fordham won the Classic after defeating Bryant, 70-51 in the finals.

Against Bryant, the Raiders held a substantial 15-7 lead after two foul shots from first-year guard Candice Green, but less than five minutes later, Bryant took an 18-16 lead thanks to an 11-1 run keyed by three three-pointers.The teams traded leads before the half, but it was Bryant that would grab the momentum just before the break, as the Bulldogs rallied to score the last six points of the half to go into the locker room with a 30-27 lead.

With 16:16 left in the second half, Colgate grabbed the lead back when Korkowski dished the ball to sophomore guard Sami Kozlowski, who laid the ball in to stake the Raiders’ lead at 35-34. However, Bryant responded with a 12-3 run and took a 47-38 lead with 12:37 remaining. Colgate hung around all game, but was never able to cut the deficit to less than five, and eventually fell by a 71-59 score. Despite taking care of the ball (only 13 turnovers), Colgate struggled on offense, shooting only 33.9% from the field and 65.4% from the line. The team also did not sink any three-pointers.

Kelsey O’Keefe and Courtney Schermerhorn lead the way for Bryant with 15 points apiece. Colgate’s leading scorer was Kozlowski with 16, while first-year center Patricia Oakes had a monster day, posting her first career double-double with 12 points and 12 boards.

In the consolation game, Norfolk State was hungry for their first win of the year, especially after losing to Fordham, 71-44 in the first round. However, the Raiders were far too tough. Colgate exploded out of the gate and jumped out to a 17-6 lead at the 14:33 mark after scoring five points in less than a minute, thanks to a three from Green and a lay-up from Oakes. Colgate played stellar defense over the next six minutes, allowing just one Spartan point and building the lead to 29-7. The Spartans chipped away a little before halftime, but still trailed 43-25 going into the break.

Norfolk State stifled the Raider offense in the first five minutes of the second half and cut the lead to 47-35 with 14:43 to play. However, Colgate managed to wrestle back control of the game thanks to sophomore guard Tayler Wejnert, who came off the bench and had four points to spark a 10-2 run. The Raiders led by 20 with 11:26 left in the game, and never looked back, cruising to a 78-54 win.

Wejnert had a stellar performance in just her second game in a Raider uniform after transferring from George Mason. She scored 28 points on 10-13 shooting and was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts. Sophomore Kendra Brim was the only other Raider in double figures, finishing with 10 points and eight boards. Her eight rebounds tied her with Oakes and sophomore forward Georgia Gier for the team lead. Oakes also had 8 points and was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the third time this year. The key to Colgate’s success against Norfolk State was their shooting, as they knocked down a solid 47.5% of their shots opposed to 33.3% for the Spartans.