Stumbling Out of the ‘Gate:Women’s B-Ball off to 0-3 Start

Stumbling Out of the Gate:Womens B-Ball off to 0-3 Start

Bill Stoklosa

Last season Colgate women’s basketball struggled to a 1-29 record. Unfortunately, the Raiders picked up right where they left off last season in the opener last Friday night against Mount Saint Mary’s, losing 60-39. They struggled rebounding, executing on offense and taking care of the ball. The defense was strong however and kept Colgate in the game in the first half. Colgate sophomore guard Sami Kozlowski hit a jumper to put Colgate up 8-7, but it would be the Raiders’ last lead of the game. The Mountaineers went on a 16-10 run and had a 23-18 lead with just four seconds left on the clock. It was at this moment that momentum really swung Mount Saint Mary’s way when there was a questionable foul call on Kozlowski when she went up to defend a three from Mount Saint Mary’s Hassanah Oliver, who hit three free throws to give the Mountaineers a 26-18 lead going into the half.

Mount Saint Mary’s continued to expand its lead in the second half and went on a 10-2 run to increase the lead to 36-20. Junior Katie Garman scored seven points in just 3:10 of game time to narrow the lead to 40-27 with 8:33 left in the game, but it was not enough as Mount went on a 20-12 run to end the game.

Colgate’s offense struggled mightily in the loss. They shot just 26.1% from the field and turned the ball over 23 times. They had 11 more turnovers than made field goals, but there were some bright spots. First-year guard Candice Green was solid with a team-high ten points on 50% shooting. Garman also shot 50% and had seven points despite only playing 11 minutes. She was tied for second on the team in scoring with Korkowski, who also had four rebounds. First-year center Patricia Oakes was solid on the boards, pulling down a team-high seven rebounds to go with six points. Mount Saint Mary’s was led by a stellar performance by Leah Westbrooks who scored 19 points, 11 of those from the foul line.

Colgate then hit the road to travel to New Jersey, although they weren’t looking for Jimmy Hoffa. Rather, the Raiders had a Sunday afternoon date in Lawrenceville with the Rider Broncs. The Broncs got out to a 9-2 lead early, but a couple of ‘Gate three pointers helped cut the deficit to one later on in the game. The Broncs went on a 6-2 run to take a 4-point advantage, but Colgate responded with a three from Gretchen Polinski, followed by a lay-up from sophomore forward Georgia Gier to take a 21-20 lead. After Rider scored the next four, Kozlowski hit another big three to knot the contest at 24. However, Rider regained control of the game going into halftime, closing out the period on a 9-3 run and taking a 33-27 lead into the locker room.

After Rider scored the first two points of the second frame Colgate got a three from Kozlowski and a two from Oakes, but Rider wrestled back control of the game and went on a 23-7 run that put Colgate down 58-39 with 6:05 left in the game. Colgate never got the lead back down to single digits and fell by a 68-56 margin.

Colgate’s shooting improved against Rider as they shot 36.5% as a team. However, the Raiders continued to turn the ball over way too much, with 19 on the afternoon. Kozlowski though, was nothing short of exceptional. She shot 8-14 from the field, including 5-6 from three, and scored a career-high 26 points. Kozlowski was a totally different player from the one that shot 1-7 and scored two points against Mount Saint Mary’s. Oakes had a solid game with nine points and 10 rebounds. Green was second on the team in scoring with eight points, and her performance over the first two games earned her Patriot League Rookie of the Week Honors.

“Candice has been wonderful,” Coach Bass said. “From the moment she stepped on campus she has been a floor leader on the court. She’s definitely got a high basketball I.Q.”

Katie Garman once again had a solid outing despite playing only eight minutes, putting up six points on 50% shooting. Amanda Sepulveda led the way for the Broncs with 15 points.

The Raiders returned home on Wednesday night to play the Binghamton Bearcats, and turnovers continued to plague them. Binghamton jumped out to a 12-2 lead, but Colgate hung in there and cut the lead to 12-11 thanks to 9-0 run sparked by seven points from Katie Garman. However, Binghamton took control from there and went on an 11-0 run to take a 23-11 lead midway through the first half and never looked back, cruising to a 66-41 victory. Colgate actually out shot the Bearcats 42.1% to 39.7%, but Colgate committed 22 turnovers to Binghamton’s eight. The Bearcats also had a 15-4 advantage on the offensive glass, and it had 25 more shot attempts than Colgate and very few teams lose with that kind of advantage. Gier led all Colgate scorers with 9 points, followed by Garman and Kozlowski with seven a piece. Polinski and Green both contributed with six points apiece and shot the ball well. Binghamton’s Muffy Sadler had a great evening with 18 points.

Colgate’s shooting has steadily improved this year, but it won’t mean much if they don’t figure out some way to be more careful with the basketball. Averaging over 20 turnovers a game is just not going to cut it.

“You have to look at the youth of our program,” Coach Bass said explaining her team’s turnover problem after the loss to Rider. “10 of our 12 players are freshmen or sophomores and we’re still learning each others games.”

Colgate will try to pick up their first win of the season this Saturday at 4:00 on Cotterell Court against St. Francis College from Brooklyn.