Cornell women’s basketball fell to Colgate in heartbreaking fashion, 62-58, after blowing a commanding 17-point lead.
The Red’s senior co-captain forward Laura Bagwell-Katalinich opened the scoreboard less than a minute into the game. Senior guard Dylan Higgins led the charge during the first quarter, scoring six consecutive points to maintain a five-point lead against the Raiders. Though it overpowered Colgate on offense, the Red turned the ball over many times and ultimately finished the night with 29 turnovers.
“It was not good,” said head coach Dayna Smith. “Half of the turnovers were unforced; it was rather a lack of composure. A lot of them came out of our guards’ hands, which is something we have to correct quickly.
“Colgate had some good steals coming out of good defensive possessions, and I’m okay with those types of turnovers,” Smith continued. “But the senseless ones at half-court, miscommunication, travels, lack of composure … we have to clean that up.”
During the first half, senior co-captain Samantha Widmann sparked a 16-3 run in the last five minutes, putting up eight of those by herself. Widmann finished the game with a team-high 15 points along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
“We really came out strong in the first half. We had a spark, we were able to make some shots, get rebounds, and we were able to execute in offense.” Widmann said when asked about the dominant first half.
The Raiders went on a 15-1 run with the start of the third quarter, as it consistently earned free throws and converted fast breaks off turnovers. The Red, which came out strong in the first half, only put 7 points on the board.
“We stopped executing on our offense. We rushed shots, didn’t get second chances and didn’t finish when there was contact. We let the refereeing get in our heads.” Smith said. “Our defense generates offense for us — we didn’t have that at all.”
Colgate equalized off a turnover with approximately 4 minutes left in the game. The Red shortly brought back the lead with junior guard Kate Sramac’s three-pointer; however, the Raiders gathered themselves to come up front again, and a missed shot by junior forward Halley Miklos served as the decisive blow. Colgate overcame a 17-point deficit and snatched the win.
“Heart. Honestly. As sad as it is to say, Colgate really came out. #14 [Rachel Thompson] dominated us throughout the stretch and they just clearly wanted it more.” Widmann said, when asked about the final minutes of the game.
The Red will face NJIT on Saturday at home.