After hanging on with Holy Cross only to lose 68-62, Colgate faced its second-largest setback of the season against American University, 46-75. The Raiders faced Holy Cross on February 4 and were almost able to catch the Crusaders in the final seconds of the game as they trailed just 64-62 in the final 30 seconds. Due to a turnover and four consecutive free throws made by first-year Raquel Scott, they couldn’t quite seal the deal.
The teams remained neck-and-neck throughout the game. Each scored on their first three possessions, and Colgate led 7-6 by the 18:14 mark. Junior Paige Kriftcher hit a layup, putting her team in the lead 11-6, only to be countered by a 15-5 run from Holy Cross, giving them the 21-16 advantage with less than 10 minutes in the half. Colgate shortened the gap again, trailing just 25-24, but by the break Holy Cross was up 34-28.
The Crusaders experienced a dry spell early in the second half, giving Colgate the opportunity to attack. The Raiders took advantage and racked up 11 straight points, taking the lead 43-42. Senior Carole Harris and junior Randyll Butler scored four each, first-year Ariel Etheridge contributed a layup and senior Mariah Jones a free throw. Holy Cross quickly reacted and recovered their lead after an 11-2 run, 53-45.
Although they knew to expect a big game from Scott going in, the Raiders were prepared to put up a fight. Etheridge explained the team’s game plan.
“In the Holy Cross game our main goal was to attack their defense and that worked a lot for us throughout the game. We knew
that if we could attack their top players then we could get to the free throw line.”
With only 30 seconds remaining, Colgate was at the Crusaders’ heals, behind by just two points. The Raiders gained possession, prepared to tie it up or take the lead, but suffered a turnover.
According to Etheridge, Head Coach Nicci Hays Fort always emphasizes where to look at turning points in a game.
“We also need to stay calm and not get frantic when we realize that the other team is going on a run. Our coach always says that it never comes down to the last possession, and it is all the little mistakes that we wish we could get back,” Etheridge said.
Scott closed out the game with four consecutive free throws, giving her team the secured victory. Scott had an outstanding game, leading all scorers with 31 points and all rebounders with 17 boards while collecting five assists.
On Colgate’s side, Harris finished with 15 points, Butler followed with 12, Jones had 12 and Etheridge tied her freshmen high with 9. Junior Josie Stockill and senior Missy Repoli scored 5 apiece, while Kriftcher and first-year Kateri Stone each had 2 points. This marked Butler’s second game this season with double-figure boards, as she also had 10 rebounds.
While reflecting on the game, Butler acknowledged the importance of a quick start.
“We just have to learn how to start the game with tons of energy and sustain that energy for a whole 40 minutes. We can’t dig ourselves in deep holes and try to get out of it in the last 5 minutes,” Butler said.
The Raiders struggled in keeping up with American when the two teams met on February 7. The large final gap in the score was partly related to the team suffering their worst shooting performance of the season. Colgate made just 21.7 percent of their shots, compared to American who shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half, and then 46 percent in the second.
The Eagles wasted no time in establishing their lead. They made five of their first six shots to go up 11-0 by the 16:27 mark. After setting the tone with this run, American didn’t look back. The Raiders weren’t able to come any closer than seven points the rest of the game.
Harris came out as the Raiders’ top scorer for the night with 11 points. Stockill followed with 8, then Butler with 5, Etheridge and Tori Pozsonyi took 3 apiece, and Katie Curtis scored 2 points. Colgate’s shooting high point was Stockhill’s 4-of-8, no other Raider made more than two field goals. Only 12 turnovers were committed in the game, four by American and eight by Colgate.
Although the team came out unsuccessful this week, Butler felt that there is still so much potential to improve and learn from what unfolds.
“American is a good team, they came out ready to play, we just didn’t have a good game against them. We didn’t shoot the ball as well, our defense was lacking and American took advantage of that. The good thing is, all these things are fixable, so we just have to learn from it, put this game behind us, and move on to the next one,” she said.
The losses from this week put Colgate at 4-19 overall, and 3-9 in the Patriot League. The women’s team will be home against Boston University on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. start.