The Rensselaer men’s and women’s basketball teams struggled this week, with both teams losing home games to Skidmore College on Friday, and Union College on Saturday. The women’s team fared better in each matchup, losing by just five to Skidmore and eight to Union, in comparison to the men’s team losing their games by an average of 19 points per game.
Skidmore, led by guard Kelly Donnelly, who scored 15 points and snagged three steals, built a 12-point edge by halftime. The Engineers fought back, limiting the Thoroughbreds to five points in the third quarter and cutting the lead to one point. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, junior guard Kate Goodell buried a three-pointer to give RPI a 45-43 lead. However, this was the last time Rensselaer led in the contest, as Skidmore outscored them 17-10 in the final 6:26 of the game. The final score was Skidmore 60, RPI 55.
Donnelly led all players with 29 points and added nine rebounds. Sophomore forward LaKissa Martin led the Engineers with 16 points while junior forward Shaina Iton grabbed 19 rebounds.
In the men’s basketball game against Skidmore, senior point guard Jonathan Luster led Rensselaer with 16 points, and sophomore forward Andreas Kontopidis scored 12. The Engineers struggled though, allowing 51 first half points to the Thoroughbreds, but were unable to come any closer to Skidmore than 19 points in the second half. Skidmore won 82-61.
In the women’s second game against Union College, points were difficult to come by. The Engineers shot just 29 percent from the field and made just four baskets in the second half. In spite of this, they led by seven points in the third quarter after baskets by senior guard Jackie Sortor and freshman guard Ines Ortea.
Then, Union took control. From 2:24 remaining in the third quarter to 5:33 left in the fourth quarter, the Dutchmen scored 12 consecutive points, including a three-pointer by guard Jenni Barra to start the game’s final period, and the go-ahead 2-point jumper by forward Sophie Borg moments later. The points streak gave Union a 39-34 lead, which they would not surrender down the stretch.
The Engineers made just one basket, besides free throws, in the fourth quarter â€” a three-pointer by sophomore guard Sam Krumbhaar. Union won 48-40.
Rensselaer sophomore guard Elizabeth Eckhardt led all players with 10 points. Krumbhaar grabbed 5 steals and 5 rebounds. Iton led the Engineers in rebounding, however, with eight.
The men fell behind early in their game against Union College. They shot 30 percent compared to Union’s 43 percent, and turned the ball over five times while taking it from Union only once. The score at halftime was Dutchmen 36, Engineers 20. Rensselaer played Union even in the second half, scoring 34 points to Union’s 35, but never made the game close. The final: Union 71, RPI 54.
Kontopidis turned in a solid performance, making five of his eight three-point attempts and scoring 24 points overall. He added seven rebounds, second-most on the team behind senior forward Brian Hatcher, who grabbed eight.
Five players scored 10 or more points for Union, highlighted by guard Wade McNamara’s 16 points and forward Greg King’s 13 points. King led all players with 11 rebounds.
The losses dropped the men to 10-8 on the year and 4-5 in the Liberty League. The women fell to 6-12 overall, and 1-8 in the Liberty League.
Next up for the two teams is a road trip north to play St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University this Friday and Saturday, respectively.