Women’s Basketball Pulls Huge Upset, Then Falters

The odds were stacked against the Raiders. An eight seed had never beaten a one seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Colgate had lost to Bucknell twice this year by an average of 29 points. No one was giving the Raiders a chance, but none of that mattered to the Colgate’s women’s basketball team, who shocked the Patriot League by beating top-seeded Bucknell 69-62 in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament.

Colgate roared out of the gates and snatched a 14-2 advantage by the six-minute mark. However, Bucknell got back in the game and took their first lead, 22-21, with 5:21 left in the first half. After Colgate regained a 27-22 lead, Bucknell closed the half on 12-5 run and took a 34-32 advantage into the locker room.

Things didn’t start out well in the second half for the Raiders as Bucknell pushed their lead to nine points early in the half. Colgate wrestled the momentum back, with a 14-1 run giving them a 52-48 lead with 8:38 left on the clock. Momentum continued to swing back and forth until the 2:39 mark. With the score tied at 61, Colgate scored the next four points and held Bucknell to a single point in the last two minutes, triumphing by a final score of 69-62.

Not surprisingly it was first-year sensation TaHara Williams who led the way for the Raiders. Not only did she have a game high 17 points, but she also came through in the clutch netting eight of Colgate’s final 10 points. Lights-out shooting form behind the arc was another key to Colgate’s success. The Raiders shot a staggering 64.3 percent from downtown.

According to Williams, the team believed in themselves even if others may not have. “I think we went into the game with confidence because we knew that Bucknell was going to underestimate us. They figured that they already had the game won, so we took advantage of the situation and came out on top,”

The Raiders next opponent was American, a team Colgate had beaten by 13 the last time they met. Colgate and American played neck-and-neck throughout the first half and the two teams went into the intermission tied at 25.

The Eagles took control in the second half, however, holding the Raiders to just five points in the first 7:45 of the second half and jumping out to a 39-27 lead. American never looked back and rolled to a 68-45 victory. Nicole Ryan led American with 15 points, while junior Catlin Gillard had 15 of her own to lead Colgate.

Soon after the loss to American, head Coach Kristen Hughes tendered her resignation. Hughes led the Raiders to a 27-63 record and one Patriot League title in her three years at Colgate.

Despite a rough season where the team finished with a 6-25 record, there is hope on the horizon. The team is only graduating two seniors this May, and with young stars like Williams, next year’s team has a lot of potential. Of course, much will depend on who the Raiders find to lead the program next year.