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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s basketball roars back from 17-point deficit to beat Colgate

Sophomore Abby Antognoli goes for a lay up in the waining seconds of the Leopards’ victory. (Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

After an impressive second-half comeback against Colgate (11-10 overall, 6-4 Patriot League), the Lafayette women’s basketball team (12-8 overall, 5-5 Patriot League) sent the crowd home happy with a 53-45 win in their annual National Girls & Women in Sports game at the Kirby Sports Center.

This win marked the third straight come-from-behind victory for the Leopards and their fifth win in their last six games. Their current streak of five wins in six matchups is tied for the best stretch the Lafayette women’s basketball team has had in 15 years, and it is the only time during that period they have done it against Patriot League opponents.  

Sophomore guard Abby Antognoli, who played all 40 minutes of the contest, spearheaded the Leopards’ offense in the win. She ended the game with 23 points and two steals. The Bay Head, N.J. native currently leads the league in average minutes played with 35.9 and is second in average steals with 1.9 per game. She also leads the team in three pointers, with 23 made.

Upon arriving on College Hill last year, Antognoli has had an immense impact on the team’s success. She appeared in 29 games and averaged 30.9 minutes per game in her rookie season on her way to being named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team.

“We are very short on numbers and I know it is necessary to play the minutes I do to give us the best chance to win,” Antognoli said. “I almost embrace needing to play as much as I do, and I typically do not get tired. I am a very active player who loves to try and get deflections and steals, as I feel like it adds to the defensive identity that we are working to build.”

Junior forward Kayla Drummond grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, with 10 of them being on defense. On the offensive side, however, the Leopards shot only 23% in the first quarter, while the visiting team was shooting at an impressive 53%. Lafayette went into the break losing 31-18 and in need of inspiration. 

“We came out very slow in the first half with many players in foul trouble,” Antognoli said. 

However, it was a completely different game once the teams returned from the locker room. The Maroon and White went on a 14-1 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 32 apiece. 

“I think we had a great defensive mindset in the second half,” Antognoli said. “We switched to the two-three zone, but what really made it impactful was that we were very active. Colgate was shooting a very poor percentage from the three-point line, so us switching to the zone was impactful.”

Colgate refused to give up without a fight, scoring six straight points, but Lafayette responded before the two teams began trading baskets throughout the first half of the fourth quarter. The Raiders were up 42-40 with just under five minutes remaining in the game before the Leopards took over. Antognoli scored 10 of the game’s next 12 points by herself to give the Leopards a comfortable 10 point lead with 44 seconds to go.

Colgate heaved up one last three before the final horn sounded but it wasn’t enough as the Leopards secured their first home victory against the Raiders in over three years.

“The team is feeling very good right now,” Antognoli said. “We started off the season with a losing streak, but we knew we could compete with all the teams we were losing to. Winning has caused us to work even harder and prove that we can compete with anyone in the league when we come together and play team basketball.”

The winning streak has raised the team to fifth place in the standings. 

Next up for the Leopards is the Rivalry game, set for tomorrow at 4 p.m. Lehigh is locked in third place, while Lafayette has a chance to jump over Army for fourth place with a victory. The Leopards will look to replicate the tremendous shooting performance they put on the last time these two teams met on January 21st. 

“We need to work on transition defense and team defense in general against Lehigh,” Antognoli said. “They are a very offensive-minded team that pushes the ball very efficiently in transition. They have very capable three point scoring threats so it will be imperative to have high hands on closeouts and force the players to drive to the basket.”

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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