WORCESTER, Mass. – Freshman Claire DeBoer drained a three-point shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and Bucknell outscored Holy Cross 11-7 in the final stanza, giving the Bison an 83-79 victory and handing the Crusaders their first conference loss of the season. Bucknell improves to 8-6 overall and 3-1 in the Patriot League with the win, earning three consecutive victories for the first time in the 2013-14 campaign, while Holy Cross falls to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in conference action with the loss.
“I knew we were down by three and there were just a few seconds left,” said DeBoer, “so I knew I had to get back out past the three-point line, just let it fly and then wait to see what happened. Luckily, it went in.”
DeBoer finished the game with a team-high 20 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, shooting 5-of-9 (.556) from the field, 2-of-2 (1.000) from three and 8-of-10 (.800) from the line. Junior Audrey Dotson scored 13 points, senior Shelby Romine had 12 points and four assists, and sophomore Sheaira Jones had 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting (.556). Junior Micki Impellizeri put up strong defensive minutes, making a career-high four blocks in the contest.
Bucknell shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the field in the win, including an impressive 52.2 percent (12-of-23) in the second-half. The squad was also highly impressive from long-range, shooting 40.0 percent (8-of-20) with a 50.0 percent (4-of-8) effort in the second 20 minutes of play, and on the boards, earning a 45-31 victory in the rebounding battle.
Holy Cross’ Lisa Mifsud scored a game-high 23 points, while Alex Smith had 18 points and seven assists. Raquel Scott, who was in foul trouble for much of the contest, contributed 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The Crusaders shot 47.2 percent (34-of-72) from the field, but just 27.8 (5-of-18) percent from long-range.
A 6-0 lead for the Crusaders at the beginning of regulation was sliced in half when Dotson made her first shot of the contest, draining a three from the point to spark the Bison offense. The home team clung to its lead for the next several minutes, but a three-pointer from junior Katherine Harris with 13:01 on the clock knotted the score 12-12, and two more long-range shots from Romine gave Bucknell an 18-12 advantage, putting the visitors in the lead for the rest of the half.
Holy Cross kept the pressure on for the remainder of the first, coming within one point on four different occasions, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Bucknell, as the Bison out-hustled and out-rebounded the Crusaders, owning a 22-11 advantage on the boards in the first 20 minutes. Layups from each of the three sophomore Bison in the last 90 seconds of the stanza put the visitors up by seven, and while the home team got two back, Bucknell would take a 36-31 lead into the locker room.
Both teams shot well in the first 20 minutes, with the Bison hitting 45.5 percent (15-of-33) and the Crusaders sinking 46.9 percent (15-of-32), but Bucknell held a considerable advantage from long range. The squad drained 40.0 percent (4-of-10) of its threes while holding the home squad to just 14.3 percent (1-of-7).
Bucknell maintained its lead for the good majority of the second half, extending it to as many as nine points on a jumper by freshman Megan McGurk at 18:01. The Crusaders came within one at 16:08, but the Bison used a 9-1 run capped by a Jones layup to regain the nine-point edge with 13:14 to play.
Mifsud hit a three to give the Crusaders their first lead of the night with 2:51 on the clock, but Dotson answered with three points of her own, converting a traditional three-point play to put the Bison up 69-68. Holy Cross jumped out to a three-point lead when Mifsud made a layup with 1:29 remaining, but Bucknell mustered every last bit of fight that it had, getting two crucial stops to take possession with 28 seconds to play.
After searching for an open look head coach Aaron Roussell call a timeout with 9.2 on the clock to draw up a play. Romine had a good look when play resumed, but her three bounced off the rim and landed right at DeBoer’s feet with just under two seconds remaining. The rookie snatched it up, raced to the right wing and let a shot fly, sending the game to overtime when the buzzer sounded as the ball banked off the glass and swished through the net.
Most of the shots in the overtime stanza came from the line, with Romine hitting 6-of-6 to give Bucknell a huge boost in the deciding five minutes. Mifsud made a layup with 2:25 to play, giving the Crusaders their last lead of the afternoon, but the next five points belonged to the Bison, earning them a four-point edge that they carried through to the 83-79 victory.
“We are so focused on each individual game,” said Roussell. “We need to win individual games, and eventually those will add up in the conference standings. I keep telling our kids that we just need to keep improving, and that is one of the things that has really shown in these last two wins. The growth of this team is really impressive. We keep getting better, and I thought today was a great example of that.”
After playing three of their first four conference games on the road, the Bison will return home next week for two contests in Sojka Pavilion. Bucknell will welcome Navy, which defeated Army 74-64 on Saturday to remain unbeaten in the league, for a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Jan. 15, while the Black Knights will visit Lewisburg on Saturday, Jan. 18. Tip-off for Saturday’s contest is also scheduled for 7 p.m. Both games, and all of this season’s conference match-ups, will be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.