Women’s Basketball Edges Lafeyette In One Point Thriller

It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but the Raider women’s basketball team finally got its first Patriot League win last weekend, outlasting Lafayette, 76-75. Returning to Hamilton for a four-game home stand, Colgate now has a chance to turn its early struggles around and get back to the business of defending last year’s Patriot League crown. The Raiders brought a three-game losing streak into the weekend and extended that skid to four consecutive defeats with a loss Friday night at Lehigh before the big win at Lafayette. The Raiders opened their game at Lehigh poorly and never truly recovered. Four different players committed turnovers on Colgate’s first five possessions, and the team failed to connect on a field goal until nearly five minutes into the contest. Still, the Raiders trailed by a manageable 37-29 margin at halftime, before the Mountain Hawks opened up the second half of play with a quick 12-3 run. Lehigh never led by fewer than nine points for the remainder of the game, maintaining its advantage from start to finish en route to a 72-59 win.Senior co-captain Emily Braseth paced the Raiders with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. With the team’s starting guards, sophomore Molly Patterson and senior Ali Lipinski, struggling with injuries and turnovers, respectively, senior guard Chigozie Ozor came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points. Junior guard Meghan Curtin saw a season-high 28 minutes off the bench and turned in eight points and six rebounds. Junior point guard Megan Ballard swiped a season-best nine steals, eight of them in the second half.However, turnovers proved Colgate’s undoing. A season-worst 25 miscues gave Lehigh too many opportunities at the other end of the floor. The Mountain Hawks remained undefeated in league play, improving over the weekend to 5-0 in the Patriot League and 13-5 overall.Sunday’s match-up with Lafayette offered a slightly easier level of competition. The Leopards, last year’s Patriot League cellar-dwellers, brought in an overall record of 3-14, although the team had one more league victory than the Raiders.Once again, the Raiders started slow and found themselves down, 14-7, in the early going. They responded with a 13-5 run to take their first lead of the weekend at the 6:09 mark of the second half, and the game remained tight though halftime, with the score knotted at 30.Colgate opened up the second half with a flurry, shooting 12-of-18 from the field and building a big 17-point lead by the 10:00 mark. The lead should have held up against a team such as Lafayette, but to their credit, the Leopards battled back. Lafayette chipped away and Colgate ended up needing each and every one of the career-high 35 points poured in by Braseth. Lipinski connected on back-to-back clutch three-pointers in the waning minutes to beat back a Lafayette run, and Ballard hit one of two free throws with 17 seconds left to give Colgate a four-point lead, making it a two-possession game. Unfortunately for Lafayette, however, the team would fall one possession short – connecting on a three just before the final buzzer to make it a one-point final, 76-75, in favor of Colgate.Braseth’s scoring outburst came on red hot shooting – 14-of-24 from the field and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. She also added nine rebounds, barely missing a second consecutive double-double. However, her efforts were enough to earn the star forward Patriot League Player of the Week honors and to bump her up to second in the league in scoring, at 15.7 points per game.Ozor was another catalyst for the Raiders, setting a season-high in scoring for the second consecutive day, this time in a starting role. She chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds in a season-best 33 minutes. After leading Colgate to its dream season from the starting point guard spot last year, Ozor had been relegated to limited bench