A December Not to Remember

The Colgate women’s basketball team dropped two consecutive games to the University of New Hampshire and the University of Pennsylvania in the Raiders’ final non-conference games of the season this past weekend.

Colgate’s match-up with winless New Hampshire last Friday seemed like the right time for Colgate to pick up its third win of the season. However, the Raiders ran into a Wildcat squad that was on fire from behind the arc.

The game was back-and-forth early, and Colgate took a 10-9 lead after first-year center Patricia Oakes hit one of two free throws. But a Wildcat three-pointer with 13 minutes left in the first half gave New Hampshire a 12-10 lead that never disappeared.

The Wildcats expanded their lead thanks to a phenomenal three-point shooting display and went into locker room leading 47-29. New Hampshire shot a blistering 63 percent in the first half and went 9-14 from beyond the arc. Though the Wildcats cooled off in the second half, they still managed to outscore the Raiders, 42-32 to coast to an easy 89-61 win.

Sophomore forward Georgia Gier led the Raiders in both scoring and rebounding with 13 points and eight boards on solid 6-9 shooting. First-year guard Candice Green also had a strong day, going 5-7 from the floor to finish with 12 points. However, the Raiders just could not keep up with a New Hampshire squad that shot 61.8% from the field and 60.9% from three-point range. All five UNH starters were in double digits, led by guard Amy Simpson with 24.

Colgate’s next game was a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Penn Quakers. The Fighting Quakers were led by fiery coach Patrick Knapp, a man who appeared to be quite literally insane. He never stopped screaming at his team and often slammed his fists against his chair. The most convincing proof of his complete insanity, however, was the fact that he was literally crawling on his hands and knees and barking orders at his team when they were on defense for much of the second half.

It looked as though Knapp’s coronary artery might burst as he coached a game that was tight throughout. Both teams struggled offensively throughout the first half, as neither team could build a lead of more than three. Penn held a 21-18 halftime advantage.

Both teams continued to struggle scoring in the second half. Penn was leading by five with 6:31 left when Oakes laid the ball in to cut Penn’s lead to 34-31. Gier later hit a jumper and a pair of free throws to put Colgate up 35-34. The Raiders held the one-point lead until 1:18 left when Penn’s Caitlin Slover drove to the basket and converted a three-point play to end the Quakers’ scoring drought at eight minutes and put them in front 37-35. After Penn committed a costly foul, Gier was sent to the line and calmly knocked down both foul shots to tie the game at 37-37 with just six seconds remaining. The Quakers had one last chance to win the game in regulation, but they failed to get a shot off and the game was sent to overtime.

In the extra period, Penn took the early lead, but Colgate answered right back when Green nailed a jumper to knot the score at 39. The Raiders took the lead on their next possession when Oakes’ basket gave Colgate a 41-39 advantage.

A 5-0 run by the Quakers put them in front 44-41. After first-year guard Kelly Korkowski was fouled battling for a rebound, she was send to the line and nailed both shots to pull Colgate to within one, at 44-43. On Penn’s next possession Colgate played tough defense and forced Penn to take a low-percentage three pointer. However, Penn’s Carrie Biemer sank the improbable shot to give Penn a four-point lead.

Oakes got the ball on Colgate’s next possession and laid it in despite a foul. Her ensuing foul shot closed the gap to 47-46. With only 26 seconds remaining, Colgate had to foul, and sent Biemer to the line. She hit both shots to put Penn up 49-46.

A long-distance three-pointer from Green hit back iron and bounced away to seal Colgate’s fate.

Oakes, who was named the Patriot League Player of the Week for her efforts, led all scorers with 16 points. Korkowski was strong in her first career start with 10 points, and Grier had another solid outing with eight points and a team-high seven rebounds. Colgate struggled on offense all game long, and was hampered in particular by the fact that they were 0-9 from three-point land in the game. The Raiders also hit just 3-6 from the line in overtime.

The loss dropped Colgate to 2-8 on the year, but the Raiders will have lots of time to regroup, as their next game doesn’t come until Sunday, December 28 against Bryant in the opening round of the Fordham Tournament.