Navy Ends Women’s Basketball’s Win Streak

After turning its season around with a highly successful four-game homestand, the Colgate women’s basketball team took its high-scoring show on the road last weekend. Unfortunately for the Raiders, their road struggles from earlier in the season resurfaced, and the team dropped a pair of games at rivals Navy and American. Colgate (9-15 overall, 5-6 Patriot League) fell back below the .500 mark in the league, and now sits in a fourth-place tie with American. With three games left in the regular season, the Raiders can finish as high as third or as low as seventh in the eight-team Patriot League. Colgate and its rivals will use the next two weeks to jockey for seeding in the all-important Patriot League Tournament, although the Raiders no longer have a chance to earn home-court advantage, which only goes to the top two seeds.Friday night, Colgate brought its five-game winning streak to Navy for a date with a squad the team had defeated at home by double digits just two weeks prior. The Raiders had all of the momentum heading into the game, but faced the challenge of playing away from the friendly confines of Cotterell Court for the first time in three weeks. The game featured a number of runs, with Colgate and Navy alternating hot and cold streaks. The Raiders jumped out to an early eight-point advantage, but Navy responded by holding Colgate scoreless for nearly seven minutes and putting together an unbelievable 21-0 spurt to take a dominant 16-point lead of its own. Instead of folding, Colgate answered back by closing the half with nine consecutive points to narrow the margin to a very manageable 36-29.Colgate pulled to within three points early in the second half before Navy reopened its double-digit edge. Navy led by as many as 16 and maintained a 13-point advantage with just 3:16 left on the clock, but the Raiders responded with an impressive last-ditch comeback attempt. “We did play well in the last six minutes of the Navy game,” assistant coach Debby Ghezzi remarked. “We were down and came back to have a shot to win. It was the only time we executed all weekend.”A three-pointer by sophomore guard Molly Patterson cut Navy’s lead to 74-73 with 15.2 seconds left. After Navy converted a pair of free throws, Patterson had a chance to tie the game with four seconds left, but her three-point attempt was no good. Navy added a pair of free throws just before the final buzzer to seal its 78-73 win.Senior forward Emily Braseth led Colgate with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Patterson and senior guard Allison Lipinski netted 13 points apiece, while senior guard Chigozie Ozor recorded 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists in her first loss as a member of the starting lineup. Junior guard Megan Ballard contributed seven points and seven assists.The Raiders hoped to rebound Sunday at American, a school they blew out by 22 points when the two teams faced each other earlier in the season on Colgate’s home floor. The Eagles shot an embarrassing 30 percent in that contest, but played like a completely different team on their home floor. The game was close throughout, as Colgate found itself down just three, 58-55, with 5:28 left. However, American closed the game with a 15-4 run to take a 73-59 win. The 14-point final margin represented the largest lead of the game for either squad.The difference this time around was American’s ability to shoot the ball consistently, a skill that was severely lacking during the Eagles’ January 30 visit to Hamilton. American shot 50 percent from the field for the game, including 61.9 percent in the second half, while Colgate converted on just 35.4 percent of its attempts. Lipinski led the Raiders with 17 points, Braseth contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, while Ozor turned in 10 points and a team-best nine boards.Tomorrow afternoon, Colgate travels to Holy Cross for a very tough match-up against the top team in the league. The Crusaders are undefeated at home and have a 10-1 league record after dropping their most recent contest at second-place Lehigh. Prior to Holy Cross’ loss at Lehigh, however, Colgate was the team that had given the Crusaders their biggest scare. Back on January 15, when Colgate was still a winless ballclub, the Raiders pushed Holy Cross hard at home, and fell in heartbreaking fashion, 66-65.One of Colgate’s keys to reversing its road struggles with an upset win tomorrow will be its ability to return to a more aggressive style of play, particularly on the offensive end of the floor. The Raiders’ losses last weekend were typified by a stagnant offense that settled for too many outside shots. As a result, the Raiders’ got to the free throw line just five times at Navy and were outscored 36-10 from the charity stripe in the two defeats.