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Canisius makes it look easy in home opener Women cruise past Colgate

It all looked so easy Monday night.

After just 12 minutes, the Canisius women's basketball team had a 29-point lead.

In the final tally, the Golden Griffins cruised to a 78-33 win over Colgate in front of 890 at the Koessler Center.

It was the fewest points allowed by Canisius in the Division I era, surpassing the previous mark in a 66-37 win over Utica on Jan. 9, 1988.

But while the opposition may have been lackluster, the Griffs certainly worked hard to make those numbers on the scoreboard look so breezy.

Canisius (1-1) played its trademark tenacious defense while running its offensive sets in scoring from inside and outside, off screens and off aggressive cuts to the basket.

The Griffins' defense helped force 18 Colgate turnovers in the first half, turning them into 20 points. When the offense set up, it ran quickly and smoothly, getting 24 points in the paint and hitting 5 of 11 from three-point range.

They also had 14 assists on 19 first-half baskets, an indication of effective teamwork.

At halftime, Canisius held a 48-13 lead.

"I felt like as a unit we've been putting in a lot of hard work [on defense in practice] and it's starting to pay off," said sophomore guard Brittane Russell, who had eight points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and nine steals. "Steals turn into points."

Laura Buetow led all scorers with 12 points, adding eight rebounds and two assists. Buetow led the Griffs' post players who know they need to step up their this season because of the the hole left among the forwards by graduation.

"One thing we put emphasis on is the tradition of the post players before us," Buetow said. "We work hard every day in practice to keep that tradition going so that we can keep it up if someone graduates or gets hurt. . . . [Monday] we were working defensively to get around each other, help each other out and work as a unit."

It was the best case scenario for a home opener, particularly for a team that's young, battling injuries and in need of early confidence.

Of course, the Griffs are accustomed to being on the other side of lopsided scores, too. They need only to think back to last Friday when they dropped a 76-49 decision at West Virginia.

"You know, we take the same thing out of this game that we did after being beaten by West Virginia," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "There are instances where we did good things and instances where we did bad things. We'll take those same things from this game. They're little snapshots that give us things to look at."

Colgate did not reach double figures until Krista Moser made a pair of free throws, putting the score 40-11 with 3:25 left in the first half.

The Raiders were 6-25 last season, but won their meeting with Canisius in Hamilton. This year, they lost their season opener, 78-39, to Niagara after being picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Patriot League.


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