Women’s Basketball Struggles In and Out of League

Jessica Rice

Last week, the Colgate women’s basketball team suffered losses to New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and American with final scores of 53-51 and 69-44, respectively. First the team traveled to NJIT on Tuesday February 5, culminating in a tough loss after an

impressive comeback.

The two teams started the game evenly as NJIT obtained a slim lead of 6-4 due to points from senior Rayven Johnson and junior Ugu Nwankoo. However, two points from Raider’s sophomore guard Mariah Jones and two successful free throws from senior guard Jhazmine Lynch kept the Raiders in the game.

After a few minutes of slower play with little change on the scoreboard, Johnson raised the lead for the NJIT Highlanders with a successful shot and a three-pointer leaving the score at 12-9 just under the twelve-minute mark.

The Raiders responded with six-straight points and increasing momentum as sophomore forward Carole Harris and junior guard Lauren Kobiela’s efforts resulted in four points. Then, first-year forward Josie Stockill secured a lead for the Raiders at 15-12 with a layup and a jumper. With four minutes left in the half, the Highlanders regained their lead with a seven-point run. Thus NJIT held the lead at half-time with a score 22-20. The first half relied on a lot of defense with a combined total of eleven blocks. NJIT’s Stockill and Nwankoo led their teams with four

defensive blocks each.

The raiders fell behind early in the second half, as the Highlanders dominated a 20-3 run creating their largest lead of 35-23 with 13:33 remaining. Despite this surge, Colgate continued to fight back as a layup from Harris decreased the margin to 35-28. But

another four-point run from the Highlanders pushed the score back to 39-28.

Then, the Raiders made an impressive comeback in only two minutes. With two three-pointers from Lynch and a third consecutive three-pointer from Jones, the Highlanders’s impressive lead was shattered as the Raiders jumped ahead to a two-point deficit.

Lynch made yet another three-pointer to put the Raiders within one point at 48-47. With a layup from Stockill, the Raiders took the lead for the first time in the second half at 49-48. The two teams continued to play back and forth during the final few minutes of the game until Highlanders’s sophomore Matejcikova made a three-pointer with eight seconds remaining, giving the Highlanders the 53-51 win.

“We dug ourselves a deficit in the second half. They came out and hit their first three baskets and we had no urgency, but we fought back like crazy and had a great effort,” head coach Nicci Hays Fort said.

In their second game of the week, the Raiders hosted American Saturday afternoon at Cotterell Court but lost with a score of 69-44. The game also doubled as a fundraiser and celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and Play 4 Kay Celebration.

American came out strong from the very start scoring the first eight points of the game. They forced the Raiders into 11 turnovers in the first eight minutes alone, accumulating in a total of 22 mistakes in the game. By the second timeout, the Eagles were ahead 19-7.

“We’ve handled pressure really well this year. This was the first game where pressure really got to us. In this game, they just came out and pressed and pressed and pressed, and we didn’t handle it well. We didn’t exploit it. It’s my fault for not having us ready for it,” Hays Fort said.

By halftime the score was an overwhelming 38-21, twenty-two of those points resulting from turnovers. Senior Stephanie Anya led the Eagles, as she didn’t miss a shot in the first half and scored 12 of her record 14 points in the first 20 minutes of the game. Stockill led Colgate with 10 points, senior center Lulu Braise contributed with seven points, and first-year guard Randyll Butler reached a season high of eight points, which included her first three-pointer of the season.

“I’m just happy it went in. I saw [Kobiela] driving and I just wanted to spot up on the opposite side. We got some drives and some kickouts – I’m happy it went in,”

Butler said.

Junior Guard Catherine Lewis and Kobiela each scored six points for Colgate, Lewis scoring hers on a pair of three-pointers,

earning the Raiders their first six points.

After half time, Colgate worked hard on defense only allowing American to score a mere two points over the first 7:55 of the second half and decreased the margin to 40-28. However the Eagles, now 6-2 in the Patriot League, didn’t let up. They never let their lead shrink to less than 12 points during the remainder of the game. The Raiders only had six turnovers during the second half of the game.

“A little bit of that is because they didn’t press us as hard in the second half, but we just can’t dig ourselves a hole at the

beginning of the game,” Hays Fort said.

The game’s final score was 69-44

American, leaving the Raiders with a 6-17 record overall and 0-8 in league. The Raiders will be playing away this Saturday as they travel to Bethlehem, Pa. to play Lehigh at 7 p.m..

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