The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Women’s Basketball Returns to the Court

Mary Grygier / Colgate Athletics

Colgate University women’s basketball is excited to return to the court with high hopes for a strong season.

The Raiders start their 2023-24 season with their first game at home on Nov. 7 against Cornell. The team will play eleven games out of conference — and a Thanksgiving tournament in Miami, Florida — before they start Patriot League play in January. None of the teams on Colgate’s current game schedule are ranked at this time, but the Raiders were ranked third in a Patriot League preseason poll, which has given the team a strong sense of optimism as they head into the new season.

Junior guard Taylor Golembiewski is going to be an important piece for the team’s backcourt; she made the Patriot League second team last year and is the sole member of the Raiders to be named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team this year. The team also welcomes three first-year players to the roster: forward Amarah Streiff, guard Ella Meabon and forward/center Maryan Eniafe, who is unfortunately out with an injury. Also new is a sophomore transfer from Bucknell University, Grace Klag. The returning players are excited to welcome three talented new members to their squad.

Junior guard Morgan McMahon had nothing but praise for the incoming players.

“It’s always exciting when you get some new faces on the team, and they have really bought into what the program is about,” McMahon said. 

Senior Forward Tiasia McMillian said that she felt the new players are going to bring a refreshing energy that will propel the team forward throughout the season.

“[They are] going to make a spark on the team,” McMillian said. “I’m excited to play on the court with them.”

Fifth-year guard Alexa Brodie spoke more towards the nature of their season ahead on the whole.

“I think the exciting part about college athletics is it’s a new team every year; you go through different challenges and adversity but you also get new opportunities,” Brodie said.

The Raiders had a solid outing last season, going 16-14 (10-8 in conference), and they are looking to put together an even better season this year. The most important thing for them has always been – and will always be – their defensive prowess. The Raiders were ranked first for defense in the Patriot League last season, and the team is looking to continue making that their identity.

Golembiewski emphasized that the team has been working to improve offensively, too.

“I think just execution on offense is a big thing we’ve been working on since the postseason and in the summer. Defense is a big staple for Colgate, so a big focus has been bringing that intensity to the offensive side,” Golembiewski said, 

McMahon also made it clear that, although defense is a great strength, the team is not going to rest on its defensive laurels throughout the season.

“[Defense] was a bright spot for us and something we can hang our hat on, but we know we need to keep that same level of intentionality [on offense] if we want to see success,” McMahon said.

Over the summer, the team took a ten-day trip to Europe where they played strong club and national team opponents, one of which was the Spanish women’s national team. 

Diehl spoke fondly of the trip and its effects in the locker room.

“[The trip] really helped the team bond as a unit,” Diehl said. 

Players, including Brodie, also commented on the chemistry that makes their team stronger on and off the court.

“I feel like [our strength] is our experience,” Brodie said. “[We have] a lot of returning players with a lot of in-game experience which can give us a leg up against our opponents.”

Diehl expanded on this sentiment, explaining that she and her teammates have gotten to understand each other very well.

“When you’ve been playing with the same group of girls for three years, you get a big sense of their strengths and weaknesses,” Diehl said. 

The team also feels very positively about the environment surrounding them going into the season. In some ways, it is a unique sentiment that players haven’t felt ever before at Colgate.

Brodie, having been here for several years now, agrees that there is something special about this team.

“I think the environment – this is my fifth year here – is the best it’s ever been since I’ve been here,” Brodie said. “We can compete and bring it on the court and also be best friends off the court.” 

McMahon spoke about the support structure behind the team being excellent, especially the physical conditioning staff who had helped her recover from an injury last season. 

“[The team is] finally starting to receive the respect we deserve from other teams in our conference, and people are acknowledging how dangerous we are. We’ve seen ourselves go from finishing second to last in the Patriot League to a title-contending team in less than three years. The sky’s the limit,” McMahon said.

Head Coach Ganiyat Adeduntan is returning for her third season with the team after recently signing a contract extension through the 2027-28 season. Also returning are assistant coaches Jason Asbell and Macey Hollenshead. The staff adds new Assistant Coach Ethan Kenney, who joined the team in June, after serving for two years as the director of basketball operations at Colgate. Kelly previously worked with Adeduntan for the women’s basketball team at George Washington University.

Golembiewski explained that even the coaching staff feels the special potential in the group this season.

“I think our culture feels the best it has, and Coach G has said several times that this year feels different in a good way, that we feel ready, that we feel like we’re heading in the right direction,” Golembiewski said.

Time will tell how the season will turn out for Colgate, but early signs look good with a solid contingent of returning players, a strong coaching staff and good early rankings going into the season. The players are encouraging Raider fans to show up and show out this year.

“I think now more than ever, with a title-contending team, we need community support. We need our fans to be engaged, and that will give us a leg up. With a strong support system, there’s no telling where we could end up,” McMahon said.

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