Women’s Basketball Quickly Losing Grip in PL

Bill Stoklosa

A 2-18 mark through the first 20 games of the year was certainly not what the women’s basketball team was hoping for at the start of the year, but that is exactly the position the Raiders are in two-thirds of the way through the season.

After winning a game against Canisius early in the season, the Raiders dropped 14 in a row, finally scratching out a win at home against Lafayette on January 9. The losing streak, spurred in part by a difficult schedule, lasted almost two months. For starters, Colgate played 10 of those 14 games away from home. In addition, the Raiders matched up against several teams from power conferences including Syracuse, Boston College, and Iowa State. They also played a Connecticut team that is ranked in the top ten nationally. Injuries too have played a huge role in the team’s struggles.

“We’ve been hit extremely hard with injuries,” Head Coach Kristen Hughes said. “We’ve had to play a number of games with only seven players dressed. Those injuries have really thrown a wrench into the team’s consistency.”

A lack of offense has been the primary reason for Colgate’s struggles; the Raiders are averaging only 53.5 points per game this year while their opponents have scored an average of 70.6 points per game. Turnovers and poor shooting from the floor have also played a huge role in their offensive woes. The team is shooting only 36.3% and is averaging over 22 turnovers a game.

The win against Lafayette not only ended the losing streak, but also evened Colgate’s conference record at 1-1 and reversed some of the trends that had stifled the Raiders’ record. Colgate’s offense played well, putting up 64 points, their second highest total of the year, en route to a 64-57 victory. Junior guard Melanie Cargle led the way for the Raiders, scoring a career high 23 points and shooting 10-16 from the field. Another junior, Shevorne Martin, added 17 points of her own. The win extended Colgate’s winning streak against Lafayette to 9 games. Cargle’s performance against Lafayette was by no means an anomaly. Coach Hughes has seen many of her players have strong individual performances, but she believes the key to success exists in a full team effort.

“We’ve had a lot of good individual performa nces, but we have to get three or four of those performances together on the same night,” Hughes said. “If that happens we should be able to get a win.”

The Raiders have dropped three Patriot League games since their victory against Lafayette, losing to Lehigh, American, and Bucknell. Their conference mark now sits at 1-4, but with conference games the rest of the way until March, the Raiders can still put themselves in position for a high seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Any future success will depend on dramatically increasing offensive output and efficiency.