| MESSAGE BOARD
RECORD: 21 - 9
REGION: Midwest SEED: 16
COACH: Beth Combs CONFERENCE: Patriot
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
Emily Braseth has been Colgate's primary go-to player this season and was the team's only all-league first-team honoree. But second-teamer Burke has been on a tear lately, scoring 23 points in the Patriot League final to earn tournament MVP honors and move into fifth on Colgate's all-time scoring list with 1,435 points. The 5-foot-10 senior guard, who has appeared in a school-record 106 games, also broke Colgate's career 3-point shooting record earlier this month, and now has nailed more than 137 treys. Not bad for a former volleyball player who got her start in a 3 vs. 3 outdoor basketball tournament.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
Some say adversity builds character and growth, and that was certainly the case for coach Beth Combs' Colgate Raiders this season.
Colgate won its first Patriot League tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth after a closely contested game with American. And the Raiders, who were picked to finish fourth in the league in a preseason poll, are deserving of the trip, especially after winning the regular-season title, too.
The Raiders were forced to battle through injuries that sidelined some of their top players and scorers this season to become the best team in the Patriot League and notch their first 20-win season in program history.
With such a devastating injury bug this year, Colgate has truly had to win by committee. Junior Emily Braseth, a 5-foot-11 junior and Patriot League first-teamer, carries most of the slack, scoring 17 points and tallying six boards. Senior guard Malissa Burke is using a decent 36 percent accuracy from triple territory to score 14 a game, while also recording 3.5 assists.
Dusting off the backboards is 6-1 junior forward Milaina Lagzdins, who nabs seven rebounds each time out and shoots an impressive 53 percent from the field.
Literally speaking, Combs & Co. have done whatever it takes to win this season. The Raiders execute a feisty defense that forces opponents into a staggering 22 turnovers, 12 of which come off Raider steals.
Bottom line is that they play hard, team basketball and genuinely believe in their ability to triumph. After making it through a rough stretch in late December that extended into January, Colgate hasn't looked back since.