LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell saw its 29-game home winning streak come to an end with a 77-53 loss to a tough Saint Joseph’s team in non-conference women’s basketball action Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion.
The Bison streak lasted nearly two calendar years, dating back to a loss to Youngstown State on Dec. 2, 2015. It was the third longest active streak in the nation, trailing just two Power Five schools in Connecticut and UCLA.
All five Saint Joseph’s starters scored in double figures, led by 21 points from Chelsea Woods. Alyssa Monaghan had a solid all-around game with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“We played a very good team tonight, and we knew if we didn’t play well this could happen,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “We had a drought in the third quarter that hurt us, but I think this is a very capable team and we have plenty of scoring. We just have to make sure we clean up a lot of things on both end of the floor.”
Kate Walker led Bucknell with 16 points, including 11 in the first half. Kaitlyn Slagus added 11 points for the Bison, who connected on just 19 of 62 field goals (30.6 percent). Saint Joseph’s shot 47.7 percent, including 64.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Bucknell trailed by just four, 34-30, at the half, but Saint Joseph’s outscored the Bison 43-23 in the second half. The Bison faced a tough task with a depleted bench, playing without three key reserves due to either injury or illness.
The Bison were able to get the ball into the paint most of the game, either with drives or passes into the post, but struggled to finish on contested layups or short jumpers. Saint Joseph’s finished with a 36-28 advantage in the paint, but the bigger difference was made with an 18-5 lead in points off turnovers and 12-4 in second-chance points.
Saint Joseph’s was coming off a 93-69 win over Niagara while shooting 15-of-20 from beyond the arc. Bucknell did a nice job guarding the perimeter for most of the game, holding the Hawks to four 3-pointers.
Junior Maegan Mikkelsen came in and gave the Bison 13 productive minutes, pulling down a career-high seven rebounds. Freshman Autumn Ceppi also saw time in the frontcourt and scored her first career points.
“These players have a lot of pride and they’ll bounce back,” Roussell said. “I really like what we have in this locker room. We had some bright spots that showed we can be just as good as we have been here before. Unfortunately, we had a bad stretch against a really good team.”
Bucknell will play another tough opponent when it goes on the road to play Drexel on Saturday at 2 p.m.