WEST POINT – Army’s Patriot League Tournament title hopes came to an abrupt end on Thursday evening as the top-seeded Black Knights were upset at Christl Arena by No. 8 Colgate, 48-40. Army’s offense failed to find a rhythm in a 17-point second half as the Black Knights made just five field goals in the decisive final stanza.
Army (22-8) made just one field goal through the first 10 minutes of the second half as Colgate (10-20) increased its lead to 13 after leading 24-23 at the half. The Raiders maintained their 13-point margin until just under seven minutes to play when the Black Knights made their biggest run of the game.
Down 41-28, Army went on a 10-0 run as junior Jen Hazlett made a pair of free-throws before knocking down a three-pointer to get things going. Freshman Kelsey Minato added a pair of freebies before classmate Brianna Johnson grabbed an offensive board, kicking it to Simmers who drained the three with 4:02 left on the clock.
Colgate clung to a three-point lead, 41-38, until Jhazmine Lynch scored the Raiders’ first points in over four minutes make it a two-possession game with 2:46 left. Army got no closer than four the rest of the way as the Black Knights got just two shots off during the final two minutes.
The game started out an entirely different story as Army jumped ahead 9-0 before Colgate scored its first basket nearly six minutes into the contest. The Raiders responded to Army’s 9-0 run with an 11-0 stretch of their own to capture their first lead of the game, 11-9, with 10:59 left in the first. The lead would change five times and be knotted three during the first 20 minutes as Colgate’s three-pointer with 19 seconds before the break gave the Raiders a 24-23 lead at the half.
Colgate crashed the boards and was especially convincing on the offensive glass, snagging 13 in the second half alone, including six during the damaging first 10 minutes of the second half. The Raiders out-rebounded Army 44-33 for the Black Knights’ largest deficit since Feb. 26, 2012 (Lehigh, 36-22).
Colgate’s Jhazmine Lynch tallied a game-high 15 points, while Army boasted three double-digit scorers in senior Anna Simmers (13), Hazlett (11) and Minato (10). Minato’s double-digit scoring streak continued for the 15th consecutive game. Simmers also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and tied Hazlett for the game high in steals with four apiece.
"I have to compliment Colgate," said Army head coach Dave Magarity. "I had a really weird feeling today. I was on the ‘poop deck’ for breakfast at 6:30 this morning and I hadn’t been there since 2006 with Maggie Dixon and we held up the championship trophy. It hit me then that [Colgate head coach] Nicci Hays Fort was there for that. She was close with Maggie. It was a weird feeling. I think she did a terrific job, that’s all I can say.
"I’m sitting there at the beginning of the game and I’m thinking ‘Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year’ and I’m looking down across the court at Colgate and they’re just shaking their heads. They did a terrific job. One of the main things in the women’s game, it’s all about matchups. Colgate has matched up with us as well as anybody has all year long. I’m talking conference and non-conference. It was a very, very tough game.
"Jhazmine Lynch was terrific defensively, she just wore Minato out. Kelsey Minato looked like a kid whose been averaging 39-plus minutes per game all year long and that’s a fact. She never comes out of the game and we expect her to perform miracles and it just wasn’t our night. We missed way too many open shots, we couldn’t finish in transition. You can take your pick. It was uncharacteristic for us to shoot that poorly and Colgate had a lot to do with that. They played like a team that had nothing to lose and now they’re playing Holy Cross on Monday and we’re not."
By virtue of the Black Knights’ Patriot League regular-season title, Army has earned a bid into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).