Raiders Surge Up the Standings



A week ago things were looking grim for women’s basketball team. Coming off a 17-point loss to Army, they were in the cellar of the conference with a 2-6 record, but since then the Raiders have rattled off two straight wins and have surged into a tie for third in the Patriot League. They’ve done all this without the services of junior guard Melanie Cargle, who was averaging a team high 12.1 points per game.

The Raiders began their upswing last Tuesday at Lafayette. During the first half, momentum swung back and forth until the Leopards built a 29-24 halftime lead. In the second half it looked like Lafayette might pull away, as they pushed their lead to as many as nine. With 11:32 left Colgate’s defense came alive and dominated for the rest of the game. The Raiders held the Leopards to just two points in that time and scored 17 of their own to take the game by a final score of 53-47. One reason for Colgate’s dominant defensive effort was their success on the boards; Colgate had a 30-16 rebounding advantage.

“Anytime you can limit your opponent to one shot each possession you put your team in a better position to win,” Head Coach Kristen Hughes said. “It was a huge stat for us. We had players form all positions rebounding the ball.”

Junior guard Shevrone Martin, who hit a clutch jumper from the baseline with just 58 seconds left to put Colgate up 49-47, gave Colgate its first lead in the second half, and they never looked back. First-year guard TaHara Williams knocked down four foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory. With four players scoring eight points or more, it seemed that Colgate finally found some balance on offense to make up for Cargle’s absence.

“The team did a good job of finding each other,” Coach Hughes said. “When Lafayette gave us different looks on defense they did a good job of finding their open teammate.”

Colgate’s next contest was a home tilt against American this past Saturday. After the two teams played neck and neck early, Colgate began to pull away midway through the first half. With the score even at 15, the Raiders went on a 13-2 run to go up 28-17. The Raiders preserved a double digit advantage through the remainder of the half, going into halftime with a 37-27 lead. The Raiders did not relinquish their lead in the second half, thanks in large part to some timely shooting from sophomore guard Gretchen Polinski. After the Eagles cut the lead down to six with 12 minutes left, Polinski hit a huge three to extend the lead back to nine. Later in the game when American had cut the lead to seven with under four minutes left, Polinski put the final nail in the coffin, hitting another three that all but sealed American’s fate, as Colgate went on to win 66-53. Polinski’s hot shooting was a theme throughout the game. She finished with 21 points and six three pointers. Williams added 18 points of her own and dished out six assists.

The wins against American and Lafayette improve Colgate’s conference record to 4-6, which places them in the middle of a five way tie for third. With four league games remaining Colgate can put itself in a very good position going into the Patriot League Tournament, especially if they continue to benefit from a balanced offense and stingy defense.