Approaching the season opener, the Colby women’s basketball team looked to build on its work from last year and make a push for the conference playoffs yet again. Last season, the Mules made it to the NESCAC quarterfinals before falling to Amherst.
On their road to the quarterfinals, the Mules demonstrated their growth as a team as they managed to upset sixth-seeded Bowdoin, knocking them out of playoff contention. This was a massive victory for the Mules, as they snapped a twenty-three-game losing streak to the Bowdoin Polar Bears, dating back to the 2009–2010 season.
The Mules ended last season with an overall record of 12–10, 2–8 in the conference. With a wealth of promising young talent, the Mules will look to improve upon their record from last season and contend for a playoff spot again.
This past Saturday, the Mules secured an impressive 69–56 victory over the Rivier Raiders in the 2022-2023 season opener. The two sides were evenly matched for the majority of the game, with the Mules managing to pull away toward the end.
The first quarter was fast-paced and exhilarating, as both sides exchanged impressive offensive spells. The Mules enjoyed the most success on the offensive end when they took the ball aggressively to the rim. Carter McGloon `24 fired the crowd up as she scored through contact and got sent to the line where she nailed the free throw, completing the three-point play.
More aggressive play on the offensive end came through a beautiful exchange between two Mules, as Caroline Smith `24 sent a gorgeous pass to Bray Hunter `24 in the paint, giving the Mules an easy layup and forcing Rivier to call timeout trailing 7–9.
The Raiders hit a couple of big threes coming out of the timeout and managed to stifle the Colby offense to wrap up the quarter, contributing to Rivier taking a 20–13 lead into the break.
The Mules came out firing to open the second quarter; Smith took the ball aggressively to the rim, finishing through contact and hitting the extra point to complete the three-point play. Hunter followed up by scoring a layup, as the Mules quickly scored seven unanswered and tied the game at 20 apiece.
The Mules did an excellent job throughout the quarter staying aggressive and getting to the rim, consistently either hitting their shots or getting sent to the free-throw line. McGloon completed another three-point play off a beautiful pass that found her under the rim, where she scored through contact and was sent to the line, once again hitting the free throw. Lily Naggy `26 also contributed to the red-hot Mules offense in the second quarter as she completed a beautiful move that freed her up to hit a layup.
The quarter ended with the Mules swinging the game back in their favor, as they took a 36–30 lead into the halftime break, outscoring the Raiders by thirteen points in the second quarter.
The third quarter started off a bit slower for both sides on the offensive end. The quarter’s scoring consisted primarily of three-pointers from both teams. Most notably, Sophie Webb `23 hit a three off the offensive rebound from Mackenzie Younker `23, and Rivier responded by getting an important steal leading to a Raider three-pointer, narrowing the Colby lead to just two points.
The quarter ended in exhilarating fashion as the Raiders fired a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter. The shot missed, but the Raiders shooter was fouled, leading to Rivier getting three free throws to end the quarter. The first free throw missed its mark, but the second two were knocked down, squaring the two opponents up at 46–46.
Heading into a vital fourth quarter, the Mules opened the scoring with a mid-range jumper, taking the first lead of the final period. Big offensive rebounds for the Mules gave them crucial second-shot opportunities, contributing to their slowly increasing lead. A massive block on the defensive end by Gabrielle Hemenes `26 was followed up by Smith hitting a clutch layup, extending the Colby lead to ten points.
Despite the Mules extending their lead, Rivier was able to stay on their heels until the end of the quarter, where Colby’s relentless offense and sturdy defense protected their lead. McGloon iced the game with seven seconds left as the Mules celebrated their first victory of the season with a final score of 69–56.
Smith led the way for the Mules, concluding the season opener with a team-high twenty-four points, as well as nine rebounds, seven assists, and shooting 92 percent on thirteen free throws.
The Mules will look to build upon their first victory next Saturday, Nov. 19 when they take on New England College at 2 p.m. at home.
~ Mason Groves `23
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