The Colgate women’s basketball team continued to struggle in the Patriot League with a pair of losses in their two most recent games.
Colgate’s trip to D.C. to battle American last Saturday was bad right from the start. American, who entered the game with an overall record of 11-6 and a 1-1 League record, came out of the gate strong and Colgate never recovered. Talicia Jackson scored a three off a dish from Liz Leer 21 seconds into the game to grab momentum early. By the 7:07 mark of the first half, Colgate was down 29-9 after Nicole Ryan nailed a three off an assist from Pam Stanfield. Colgate cut into the gap a little bit before the half but still faced a significant 36-21 deficit going into the locker room.
It looked like Colgate might stage a comeback late in the second half. With Colgate trailing 55-40 with 5:41 left, sophomore guard Taylor Wejnert dished to fellow sophomore guard Sami Kozlowski, who nailed a three to cut the deficit to 12. On the ensuing American possession, first-year center Patricia Oakes stole the ball from American’s Nicole Ryan. Later in the Colgate possession, Wejnert passed the ball to Oakes who laid the ball in to cut the American lead to 55-45 with 3:29 left. Unfortunately for Colgate, after losing its previous game against Lafayette thanks to Lafayette’s 14-1 run in the final three minutes, Colgate once again struggled in the closing minutes of the game. The Eagles outscored the Raiders 8-2 for the remainder of the contest and cruised to a 63-47 victory.
Colgate actually outshot American 44.2% to 40.8%, and turnovers were not the main culprit this time in ensuring Colgate’s loss. Colgate actually had one of its better games taking care of the ball, with 15 turnovers. However, they faced a huge gap from the charity stripe. American went to the line 20 times to Colgate’s eight trips and scored 14 more points from the line. Equally crushing was American’s advantage on the offensive glass. American had 15 offensive rebounds to Colgate’s six. Head Coach Pam Bass blamed American’s guards for the gap on the glass.
“American did a very good job aggressively rebounding from the guard position which is a position where you normally don’t have to box out as consistently. So our guards were really tested in terms of their box outs especially at the one and the three positions,” Coach Bass said.
American guard Talicia Jackson had five offensive boards, while fellow American guard Nicole Ryan had three offensive rebounds. Ryan also led all scorers with 17 points, while American’s Liz Leer contributed 11 points and Talicia Jackson added 10. For the Raiders Sami Kozlowski led the team or was tied for the team lead in four categories, with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Patricia Oakes was also solid in defeat as well with 10 points and four rebounds. Oakes has been stellar this season, especially as of late, and is probably the best rookie in the Patriot League this season. On Monday after the American game, she earned her fifth Patriot League Rookie of the Week award of the season. The Head Coach, however, feels that Oakes is not alone in showing improvement this season.
“She just keeps getting stronger every game just like all of our first-year players are getting stronger every game,” Coach Bass said.
Colgate’s next matchup came on the road on Wednesday against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Things looked very good early on for the Raiders. Colgate dominated on defense and with 13:22 remaining Colgate was already leading 11-4 when Patricia Oakes dished to first-year guard Candice Green, who nailed a three to put the Raiders up 14-4. Lehigh scored the next two, but Colgate regained a double digit lead later on when Green dished to junior guard Katie Garman who nailed a three to put Colgate up 17-6. Colgate extended its lead even further when Sami Kozlowski stole the ball and later ended up with a layup off an assist from Green. The layup put Colgate up 19-6 with 9:20 left in the half; however, Lehigh would get the deficit down to a much more manageable 28-22 score before the half.
In the second half, things fell apart for Colgate. Both teams played putrid on offense to start the half, but Lehigh’s Kristen Dalton laid the ball in off an assist from Melissa Rich to give the Mountain Hawks their first lead of the half with 10:46 left in the contest. Lehigh never gave that lead up and steadily built it up until they led by a game high 18 when the final buzzer sounded.
Colgate’s 61-43 loss was a tail of two halves. Colgate led by six at the break, but allowed Lehigh to outscore them 39-15 in the second frame. Lehigh did improve their shooting from 25.9 to 34.4% but that was not the most important statistic. In the first half the turnover numbers were more or less even with Lehigh committing six to Colgate’s 10; however in the second half, Colgate had a disastrous time taking care of the ball with 16 turnovers to Lehigh’s 5.
Lehigh was led in scoring by Erica Prosser who had a staggering 25 points. Colgate’s leading scorer was Patricia Oakes with 12 points, while Candice Green added 10 and Katie Garman contributed nine. Despite her strong performance against American, Gretchen Polinski played only a single minute and recorded no points.
Colgate will face another stiff test this Saturday when it battles the defending League Champions, the Bucknell Bison, at home at 2 p.m. The Raiders will then host the always tough Holy Cross Crusaders on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Cotterell Court.