Women’s basketball comes up empty in overtime endeavor in Worcester

The women’s basketball team went into overtime against Holy Cross, eventually losing in a tight 56-53 decision last Saturday. The game began with a strong performance from sophomore forward Natalie Kucowski, who scored 16 of Lafayette’s 27 points in the first half. In the last five minutes of the first quarter, the Leopards defense held the Crusaders scoreless.

Kucowski filled the stat sheet with 22 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and a pair of assists. Senior guard Alex Cantwell was the other Leopard in double figures, putting up 10 points and grabbing seven boards. Sophomore guard Olivia Martino and freshman guard Makaila Wilson both contributed six points and seven rebounds.

The Leopards were outmatched in getting to the free throw line. They managed five free throws made on eight attempts, while the Crusaders went 16-21. Though Lafayette made three more field goals than Holy Cross on 10 fewer attempts, it wasn’t enough to get the win.

Kucowski highlighted the team’s defense as a strong point through the first half of the season.

“Our defense has remained pretty solid. We’ve done a good job of keeping teams below their usual scoring average for the most part,” she said. “We go through a few scoring droughts ourselves, so focusing on taking the high quality shots is important so we can build our momentum.” 

To improve on the team’s 7-14 record (2-8 in league games), Kucowski thinks the team needs to focus on offensive play.

“Focusing on taking the high quality shots is important so we can build our momentum throughout the game,” she added. 

The Leopards suffered a nine point loss the last time they faced Bucknell, and it doesn’t get easier as they’ll head to Lewisburg for an away matchup on Feb. 9. During the bye week, the team will focus on their weaknesses for the first days, and then later in the week they will begin to scout and prepare for Bucknell, according to Kucowski. 

The Leopards, now 2-8 in conference play, will need to surprise a few opponents to vie for better positioning when the Patriot League Tournament begins in March.

“In our league especially we go into every game thinking it’s going to be winnable and knowing that if we execute we will be successful,” Kucowski said. “Going into the second half of the season, we see how closely we’ve competed with all the teams we’ve played, so there’s no reason why we can’t beat them.”