The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s basketball drops 3 games heading into playoffs

Junior guard Abby Antognoli drives past a defender during the loss to Bucknell. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The women’s basketball team (10-19 overall, 5-13 Patriot League) fell to Bucknell University (12-17 overall, 9-9 Patriot League) on Saturday by a score of 56-45. Then, on Wednesday, the team lost to the College of the Holy Cross (17-12 overall, 11-7 Patriot League) by a score of 77-69.

Saturday was the team’s Senior Day, as guard Makayla Andrews and forward Kayla Drummond were honored for their contributions to the program. Andrews, who led the team on the day with 22 points, reflected fondly on her four years.

“Obviously there’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’m proud of the growth I’ve made since freshman year,” Andrews said. “I’ve had to overcome hurdles both skill-wise and emotional-wise, so all I can really say is that I’m proud of myself and proud of my teammates.”

Lafayette also honored the senior members of its spirit teams — the pep band, along with the cheerleading and dance teams — at halftime. These groups have performed at every home game this season.

“Having the team here at Lafayette has been an extremely important and impactful part of my college career,” dance team senior Jenna Tempkin wrote in an email. “In the last few years I have really seen and been a part of the team’s transformation.”

Cheerleading senior Lydia Houser also reflected on her time with Lafayette athletics. 

Cheerleading “has taught me how to be a better captain, friend and teammate,” Houser wrote in an email. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to become a better leader with the help of my amazing teammates and coach.”

The Leopards got off to a quiet start against the Bison, failing to register a single point until midway through the first quarter. Scoring in the first quarter has been a long-term issue for the Leopards this season.

“We’re lacking the sufficient amount of energy at the start of games,” junior guard Abby Antognoli said.  “We talk all the time about bringing that energy from the tip-off, and that’s been a problem for us.”

The team got a boost to close the first frame, however, as junior guard Halee Smith nailed a three-point buzzer-beater to bring the deficit to two. The Leopards tied the game early to start the second quarter, but it was the Bison who ended up seizing control. Bucknell rode a 10-2 scoring run to secure a 26-21 lead going into the half.

According to Andrews, limiting these opposing scoring streaks is extremely important to the success of a team.

“We need to maintain a high level of intensity and focus on defense, especially when we go through scoring lulls,” Andrews said. “It’s like saying ‘Ok, if we’re not going to score, then you can’t score either.’”

The Leopards went on to bounce back in the third quarter, with a combined ten points from Antognoli and Andrews leveling the game at 33-33. Antognoli noted the team’s ability to work its way back from large deficits as one of the biggest strengths.

“Once we feel like we’re getting dominated that’s when we pick up our energy,” Antognoli said. “But we need to set that standard from the jump, because we finish games stronger when we’re playing from ahead.”

The teams would trade scoring streaks in the second half, but after Andrews tied the game at 40 from the free throw line, Bucknell took full control. The Bison went on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach for the Maroon and White. 

“Bucknell did a good job of finding their key players and making plays for them, which is something we could have done more,” Andrews said. “I just don’t think we made the same adjustments that they did.”

Lafayette’s losing streak continued against the Crusaders of Holy Cross (17-12 overall, 11-7 Patriot League) on Wednesday night.

Antognoli ended the match with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Andrews scored 13. Sophomore forward Emma Shields scored 12 points and grabbed five boards.

The Leopards were down big the entire game until a third quarter run knotted the game at 50. Holy Cross then went on a 7-0 run to close the quarter and the Leopards could not muster a second comeback. The game ended 77-69 in favor of the Crusaders.

The Leopards will head into playoffs sitting in last place. They will face Navy (13-16 overall, 9-9 Patriot League) in the first round of the tournament on March 9.

“We know we can compete with everyone in the league regardless of what it says on the final stats,” Antognoli said. “It’s just about finding the confidence and playing together.”

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About the Contributor
Martin Familetti
Martin Familetti, Staff Sports Writer
Come On You Spurs.

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