WORCESTER, Mass. – Bucknell has back-to-back losses for just the second time this season after falling 63-51 at Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. The teams were tied 46-46 after three quarters, but the Crusaders out-scored the Bison 17-5 in the final 10 minutes to get the win.
Infiniti Thomas-Waheed scored 26 points to lead Holy Cross, which improved to 6-16 overall and 4-7 in the conference. Bucknell, which played its second straight game without sophomore Kate Walker (9.0 ppg), fell to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in the Patriot League.
Senior Sune Swart paced the Bison with 13 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus added 12 points and seven boards. Senior Claire DeBoer finished with nine points and seven rebounds, and sophomore Kyi English tallied nine points.
Bucknell has been able to overcome turnovers in most games this season, but Holy Cross turned 18 turnovers into 20 points. Thomas-Waheed led the charge as the Crusaders’ bench scored 29 points.
“We just didn’t look like a team that was ready to play today,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “I’m baffled by that and was completely caught off guard by it, but that’s on me and I’ll take responsibility for it.”
Holy Cross had big runs to start three of the four quarters, including a 9-1 advantage to open the fourth. Unlike the first two quarters, Bucknell was never able to respond with a run of its own.
Holy Cross opened both the first and second quarters with 7-0 runs, but Bucknell managed to battle back each time and went into the half tied 32-32. The Crusaders’ run to open the game came in the first 1:11 as they hit their first three shots, including a banked-in 3-pointer. The Bison got within one during the quarter and trailed 18-14 when it ended.
The Crusaders’ 7-0 run to start the second quarter gave them their largest lead of the half, 25-14. The Bison responded again with seven straight points by Swart. After not scoring in the opening quarter, the senior scored on three straight possessions in a span of 1:06, including a 3-point play on her second bucket. She went on to add two assists later in the quarter, including one on a 3-pointer by Slagus that gave the Bison their first lead of the game, 32-30 with 1:22 left in the half. The teams were tied 32-32 at the break and followed that by matching each other with 14 points each in the third quarter.
“We really struggled to score for most of the game,” Roussell said. “Credit Holy Cross for making things difficult for us, but we have got to find ways to put points on the board no matter the defense our opponent is in.”
The Bison have posted two of their three lowest point totals of the season over the past two games. Poor shooting from beyond the arc has played a role as they connected on just 2-of-16 attempts against American and hit 4-of-17 tries against Holy Cross. The Bison also had an uncharacteristically off night from the foul line, making 11 of their 18 attempts. They entered the game ranked 18th in the nation in free throw percentage at .774.
The last time Bucknell lost consecutive games – on the road at North Carolina and Elon – it responded by winning 14 of its next 15 contests.
Bucknell returns to Sojka Pavilion, where it has won 21 straight games and is 9-0 this season, to play Lehigh on Wednesday. The Bison beat the Mountain Hawks 77-58 earlier this season.