Women’s Hoops Wins Third Straight In Style

What a difference a homestand makes. After entering the season with high hopes but starting league play with a disappointing 0-4 record, the women’s basketball team used a pair of home victories last weekend to extend its winning streak to three games, push its Patriot League record to 3-4 and gain a share of fourth place in the eight-team league. With two more home games this weekend, the Raiders have a chance to push their record above the .500 mark for the first time this season and to claim sole possession of third place in the league. Success this weekend will be crucial, because a three-game road trip against some of Colgate’s toughest Patriot League looms ahead. Overall, the Raiders are 4-3 at home this season, but just 3-10 away from Cotterell Court.After stealing a win at Lafayette the previous weekend, Colgate entered Friday night’s contest with Navy looking to string back-to-back wins together for the second time all season. The first half was competitive, but the Raiders finished with an 11-2 run over the final 4:30 to extend the advantage to double-digits halftime advantage. Colgate maintained its healthy edge throughout the second half, leading by as many as 17 points en route to the 64-53 win.The Raiders’ win was spurred by the dominant play of forwards Leandra Fuller and Emily Braseth, the team’s senior co-captains. Fuller had by far her best game of the season, recording a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting. She added two blocks and two assists in 33 minutes of action. Braseth, Colgate’s leading scorer and rebounder, turned in her usual solid effort, pouring in 17 points and seven boards on 8-of-12 shooting. Senior guard Allison Lipinski connected on four three-pointers for 12 points and junior small forward Meghan Curtin provided a major spark off the bench, with seven points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Chigozie Ozor made her second consecutive start and added eight points and three steals in a team-high 35 minutes.Ozor started again Sunday when Colgate hosted American. While she was held to just two points, the Raiders still managed to improve to 3-0 with their senior guard in the starting lineup. Ozor, Lipinski and junior Megan Ballard make up a three-guard starting tandem that you can expect the Raiders to maintain for the rest of the year.Against Colgate, American’s players proved early their inability to shoot the ball with any consistency. The Eagles shot just 32.4 percent from the field in the first half and connected on just 6-of-12 free throw attempts, but managed to keep the game close by forcing turnovers and scoring on a number of easy fast-break layups. The Raiders appeared to be the far superior team, but only led 33-28 at halftime.The game did not remain tight for long, as Colgate cut down on the mistakes in the second half, opening with a 16-1 run that pushed its lead to 20 points. By taking away American’s transition game, the Raiders eliminated the Eagles’ only source of offense. American was forced into settling for outside jump shots and earning its points from the foul line, and the results were disastrous. The Eagles scored just 17 second half points and finished the game shooting 30.5 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from the line, compared to Colgate, which converted on 48.1 percent of its field goal attempts and 78.6 percent of its attempts from the line. The Raiders also nailed six three-pointers, while American failed to hit a single shot from beyond the arc. The result was Colgate’s most convincing victory of the year, a 67-45 triumph.Once again, Braseth paced the offense. She netted 14 points and added seven rebounds and a career-best six assists. Three other Raiders scored in double figures as well – Lipinski with 12, Ballard with 11 and Fuller with 10. Adjusting to her new bench role, sharp-shooting sophomore guard Molly Patterson added seven points in 23 minutes, on 3-of-4 shooting from the field. Ballard, Colgate’s top defender, added seven steals. She continues to lead the Patriot League in steals, with 3.2 per game. Incredibly, she is averaging well over four swipes per game during league play. Braseth also ranks among the league leaders in a host of categories. She currently stands second in the league in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.6 points and 7.3 boards per contest.Tonight, the Raiders (7-13 overall, 3-4 Patriot League) will put their winning streak on the line as they play host to second-place Lehigh (14-6, 6-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Cotterell Court. Sunday at 1 p.m., Colgate will look too sweep the season series with last-place Lafayette (3-17, 1-6).