Within Reach: Women’s Cagers Win and Lose on the Road

Looking to carry over the momentum from its most recent victory against Lafayette, the Colgate women’s basketball team hoped to extend its winning streak with a trip to the nation’s capital. In D.C., Colgate faced a tough American squad that had defeated the Raiders earlier in the season. Led by the solid play of sophomore guard Melanie Cargle and first-year phenom Gretchen Polinski, each of whom poured in 23 points, the Raiders secured a 72-63 victory.

“Right now the underclassmen are really playing great,” head coach Kristin Hughes said. “I no longer look at Melanie and Gretchen as underclassmen, but rather leaders of the team.”

Not to be out done, senior co-captain Megan Ballard added four steals, becoming Colgate’s all-time leader in that category by surpassing Sarah Cashman ’82 for the top spot. In her four years at Colgate, Ballard has amassed 268 steals, a number which will surely grow in the coming weeks.

“I am so proud of Megan and more importantly the type of record she broke,” Hughes said. “Steals are often overlooked as a statistical category and it is indicative of the type of impact Megan has had as a player. She is often the unsung hero of the team.”

Colgate came out a little sluggish in the first half and entered intermission trailing the Eagles, 37-33. In the first half, Colgate shot only 39 percent from the field; however, the second half was a different story, as the Raiders came out by hitting three consecutive three-pointers to go ahead, 45-41. American came back with a 9-3 run to take the lead, but the Raiders responded with a crucial

run of their own that put them on top. Although the Eagles would climb to within two points at 62-60, the Raiders refused to relinquish the lead and knocked down crucial free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

In the win, senior forward Meghan Curtin contributed 14 points to the winning effort, while Polinski hauled in six rebounds and Ballard dished out a game-high seven assists to go along with her record-setting assist total.

With a 5-5 mark in the Patriot League, Colgate headed to Lehigh in hopes of continuing its success. Unfortunately, Colgate had no answer for the stellar play of Lehigh senior Jenny Callan, who scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Mountain Hawks to a 71-53 victory. Sophomore Melanie Cargle led the Raiders with a 15-point performance.

Lehigh opened the game with a 7-0 run and led for most of the half. Colgate went on an 8-0 run take a 23-22 lead; however, the Mountain Hawks finished the half strong to take the lead heading into intermission. In the opening half, Colgate could only muster 11 made field-goals.

In the second half, Lehigh continued its strong play by going on a 16-4 run to break the game wide open. From that moment on, Lehigh never looked back and closed out the game with a decisive win.

Following her career-setting night, Ballard scored 11 points, while Polinski scored nine points and hauled in 10 boards. Senior Devon Warwick also secured a season-high 10 caroms for the Raiders.

“Tonight was a bad game,” Hughes admitted. “We never were able to get going and we failed to establish an offensive flow. If there is one positive from the evening, we all picked a bad night to play poorly.”

The Raiders head into the weekend with a home game against Navy at Cotterell Court and then host second-place Holy Cross on Tuesday night.