CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Bucknell hung with North Carolina for three quarters but went cold in the fourth as the Tar Heels pulled away with a 65-50 win in non-conference women’s basketball action Sunday night at Carmichael Arena. Senior Claire DeBoer posted her second consecutive double-double for the Bison, registering 11 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort.
Bucknell suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 3-1. North Carolina stayed unbeaten at 3-0 with all three wins coming on its home court.
“I was really proud of the fight we showed ,” said Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell. “I felt we had to play well and shoot the ball great to give ourselves a chance, and unfortunately we didn’t do those things but still had a chance through three quarters. I felt good about where we were in the fourth quarter, but they made a run, and we couldn’t recover.”
The first three quarters were nearly dead even as the teams battled to a 13-13 tie after one quarter, a 30-28 North Carolina lead at the half, and a 48-44 Tar Heel lead after the third quarter. The Bison were doomed by 18 percent (2-11) shooting in the final 10 minutes.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus just missed recording her third double-double in the first four games of the season, falling one point shy with 11 rebounds and nine points. She made both of her free throw attempts to stay perfect at 12-for-12 on the season.
Bucknell out-rebounded North Carolina 49-45, but 23 of the Tar Heels boards were on the offensive end. That and 26 Bison turnovers led to the Tar Heels taking 20 more shots (78-58) in the game.
Nearly half of North Carolina’s points came off turnovers or following an offensive rebound. The Tar Heels scored 18 off Bison turnovers and had 13 second-chance points.
Senior Megan McGurk had her best offensive output this season with eight points. She hit two big 3-pointers in the first half, the first of which put Bucknell up 13-11 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter and the second of which put the Bison up 18-14 early in the second quarter.
The game was tied as late as the 8:21 mark of the third quarter when senior Sune Swart hit a jumper to knot the score at 35-35. The Bison fell behind by as much as seven in the quarter, but Slagus hit a pair of free throws with 30 seconds on the clock to cut the deficit to four, 48-44.
The Bison went on a 5:53 scoring drought to start the fourth quarter before Slagus hit a jumper.
“I know the shots will start to fall for us and when they do we are going to be a very dangerous team,” Roussell said. “Nights like this will make us better, and I’m glad we had this experience.”
Stephanie Watts led North Carolina with 17 points on 7-of-24 shooting and added 11 rebounds. Jamie Cherry and Paris Kea joined her in double-figures with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Swart finished with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and tallied eight rebounds. Sophomore Kyi English tallied seven points, while sophomore Kate Walker had four steals, all of which came in the first half. Junior Catherine Romaine, playing in her hometown, scored a nice bucket in the second half.
Bucknell continues its North Carolina trip with a game at Elon on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Phoenix are 3-1 after a 71-57 win over Central Michigan. They also have a 66-54 win over Rutgers.