FARMVILLE, Va. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team ended the 2013 portion of the season with a bang on Saturday afternoon, using a true team effort to earn a 71-47 win over Longwood at Willett Hall. The Bison victory, head coach Aaron Roussell’s 20th at the helm of the program, improves the squad’s non-conference record to 5-5, while the Lancers fall to 3-7 (0-1 Big South) with the loss.
Although ten different players scored at least two points in the contest, senior Shelby Romine had a particularly dominant game for the Bison, scoring a game-high 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting (.647), collecting six rebounds, handing out four assists and grabbing two steals in a well-rounded effort. The 20+ point performance was her third of the season and the 19th of her career. Freshman Claire DeBoer, who came alive in the second half of the contest, was equally impressive on both ends of the court, contributing 12 points, a game-high seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.
Heather Tobeck led the Lancers with 20 points on 9-of-13 (.692) shooting, and Brenna Robbins chipped in six points. Jaclyn Reagan and Khalilah Ali each pulled down six rebounds for the home team.
Bucknell quickly asserted its dominance in the contest, jumping out to 19-6 lead after preventing Longwood from connecting on a field goal for over nine minutes. A Lancer layup with 8:14 on the clock broke the streak and narrowed the visitor’s advantage to 11, but six points by Romine and two from sophomore Claire Maree O'Bryan pushed Bucknell’s edge to 15 with just under four minutes left in the half.
Longwood made a strong push in the final minutes of the first, whittling Bucknell’s lead down to eight and keeping the squad on its toes, but the Bison preserved a sizable 27-19 lead as the teams headed to the locker room. Bucknell, which shot 33.3 percent from the field in the first, held Longwood to just 25 percent, including a measly 14.3 from long range.
After dominating the defensive battle in the opening 20 minutes, the Bison exploded for 44 points in the second half of the contest, and freshman Megan McGurk, who scored nine points on 3-of-5 long-range shots and handed out a career-best five assists, sparked an 8-0 run to kick things off. Back-to-back layups by junior Micki Impellizeri and a gutsy play by freshman Sune Swart gave Bucknell a 47-25 lead with 11:50 on the clock, and the squad carried that momentum through to the finish, with each and every player doing her part.
The Lancers continued to pressure down the stretch, led by Tobeck’s 18 points in the final 20 minutes, narrowing the Bison’s lead to 15 points with 4:19 left to play. Bucknell’s bench players responded loudly however, as juniors Tara Wilk and Katherine Harris each hit a three-pointer and sophomore Tyler Craig scored four points in the final three minutes to give Bucknell a 71-47 victory in its final non-conference game of the season.
The Bison, who had a 44-37 advantage on the glass, shot 42.9 percent from the field in the contest, including 53.3 percent in the second half, while holding the Lancers to just 32.1 percent shooting.
Bucknell returns to action for the start of Patriot League play on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, travelling to Washington, D.C. to take on American in the conference opener for both squads. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bender Arena.