LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kaitlyn Slagus tallied her 23rd career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds and the Bucknell women’s basketball team outlasted first-place American for a 57-52 victory Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. The win was the 10th in a row for the Bison, who ended the 17-game winning streak the Eagles brought into the game.
Bucknell (20-8, 14-3 PL) reached 20 wins for the sixth time in program history and clinched the second seed in the Patriot League Tournament. It is the third consecutive year the Bison have reached the 20-win plateau. American (23-5, 16-1 PL) had not lost since Dec. 17 at George Washington, and started the streak with an overtime win over Penn State.
"When you play American, you know they are going to take a lot of things away from you," Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. "They make you play physical on both ends. I don't think we were as efficient as we would have liked, but I'll tell you what we had some players make some big-time plays today. That's what it's all about this time of year."
Kyi English led Bucknell with 18 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. She converted a four-point play early in the fourth quarter that staked the Bison to a 42-38 lead, and Bucknell never trailed again.
The Bison extended the lead to 48-41 on a layup by Slagus with 4:38 to play, and then English, Slagus and Ellie Mack combined to make six of their eight free-throw attempts down the stretch to clinch the victory. Mack also hit a clutch 3-pointer, draining it from the corner to put her team up 55-52 with 25 seconds remaining.
The free throw line was a difference in the game as Bucknell made 19 of 24, while American converted just 10 of 20. English was 4-for-4 at the line, Slagus made 6-of-7 attempts, and Kate Walker converted 5-of-6 free throws on her way to a seven-point game.
Mack totaled 11 points off the bench, while Catherine Romaine – the lone senior on the active roster – totaled 11 rebounds on Senior Day to help the Bison win the battle of the boards 46-40. Mack scored in double-digits for a third consecutive game while leading Bucknell to a 20-7 advantage in bench points.
"This was such a fun game to play in, and I'm proud to be a part of this team," Romaine said. "It was a very meaningful win for me. There isn't anyone else I'd rather get that win with than these players with me today."
Emily Kinneston led American with 20 points in just 24 minutes due to foul trouble. Michael Harris added 16 points.
Bucknell finished with 14 turnovers, but just two of those came in the second half. The Bison didn't commit a turnover in the final 16:42 of play. At the other end, they tallied five steals and five blocks for the game. Walker led the way with two steals, while Autumn Ceppi had two blocks.
In addition to Romaine, Carly Richardson and team manager Danielle Baer were honored for Senior Day prior to the game. Richardson missed this season with an injury, but played a key role in Bucknell's 2017 Patriot League title.
The Bison will close the regular season with a game at Army West Point on Wednesday at 7 p.m.