LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team triumphed in a fast-paced contest with Lehigh on Wednesday night, earning an 82-68 win over the visitors at Sojka Pavilion. Senior Shelby Romine, who was one of four Bucknell players to score in double-figures, exploded for a season-best 28 points to lead the Bison, who earned their first home win over the Mountain Hawks since Jan. 24, 2007. Bucknell closed out the first half of the Patriot League season with an 11-8 overall record and a 6-3 mark in league action, surpassing its conference wins total from last season, while Lehigh dropped to 9-11 overall and 2-7 in league play with the loss.
Romine’s 28 points were the result of a sizzling shooting performance, as the guard hit 10-of-16 (.625) from the field, 5-of-8 (.625) from three-point range and 3-of-4 (.750) from the line. She also dished out six assists and made four steals in a stellar all-around effort. Freshman Claire DeBoer tallied 17 points and collected a game-high nine rebounds, while sophomore Claire Maree O'Bryan provided a spark off the bench, scoring 11 points and pulling down seven boards. Freshman point guard Megan McGurk also had a strong night, contributing ten points, five rebounds and five assists.
Four Mountain Hawks also scored in double-digits, led by Kerry Kinek’s 15 points and eight rebounds. Elizabeth Sharlow chipped in 14 points, while Sarah Williams and Katie O’Reilly each put up 10. Willams also handed out a game-high eight assists.
The Bison raced out to a quick start, holding the Mountain Hawks scoreless for almost three minutes to take a 10-0 lead with 17:21 on the clock. While Lehigh managed to work its way onto the board, Bucknell owned both ends of the court in the early moments of the contest, forcing errors and finagling shots through an aggressive Mountain Hawk defense, building its advantage to 11 points after just five minutes of action.
A 6-0 run brought Lehigh to within five, but Bucknell never trailed, rebuilding a double-digit edge with a 7-2 streak of its own. The teams exchanged baskets until the final media timeout of the half, but the Bison held the Mountain Hawks scoreless for the last four minutes of the first stanza, tallying six points of their own to take a 36-24 lead into halftime.
Neither team shot too impressively in the first 20 minutes of action, with Bucknell hitting 34.3 percent (12-of-35) to Lehigh’s 35.5 percent (11-of-31), but the Bison managed to force 12 turnovers on the Mountain Hawks, outscoring them 12-4 on ball-handling slip-ups.
Lehigh chipped away at Bucknell’s lead in the early minutes of the second half, outscoring the Bison 18-13 to come within five with 13:35 remaining. Bucknell never panicked however, adjusting as needed to outsmart aggressive defenders and shut down its opponent’s hot scorers.
A tough layup by junior Audrey Dotson, who had nine points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes of action, sparked the Bison offense with just over 13 minutes to play, sending the team on a 14-7 run that spanned four minutes and increased Bucknell’s lead to 65-51.
Lehigh would come as close as nine in the final ten minutes, narrowing the score to 68-59 with 6:02 on the clock, but a Romine layup just seconds later lifted Bucknell’s lead back into double-digits for the remainder of the contest. Romine drained her fifth three-point shot of the night with 44 seconds to play, giving the Bison a 15-point edge, and while the Mountain Hawks would score on their final possession of the night, the 82-66 win belonged to Bucknell.
Both squads saw a remarkable increase in shooting accuracy in the final 20 minutes, but the Bison held a slight edge, hitting 56.3 percent (18-of-32) to the Mountain Hawks’ 55.9 percent (19-of-34). Lehigh was 46.2 percent (30-of-65) from the field in the game, while Bucknell hit 44.8 percent (30-of-67) of its field goal attempts and an impressive 50 percent (7-of-14) of its three-point tries. The Bison held a 40-39 advantage on the glass and also forced 21 turnovers, while the Mountain Hawks had an impressive 11 blocks.
Bucknell remains at home on Saturday, Feb. 1, kicking off the second half of its Patriot League season with a 7 p.m. contest with Colgate. The Raiders, who dropped a 90-75 decision to Lafayette on Wednesday night, have played to a 5-15 overall record and a 1-8 mark in the Patriot League. When the teams met on Jan.5 at Colgate’s Cotterell Court, DeBoer’s 24 point-12 rebound outing led Bucknell to an 88-72 victory.
The USA Jump Rope team will perform at halftime of Saturday’s game, and Bucknell Athletics will also be celebrating Girl Scout Night. The contest will be streamed by Bison Vision, and will be available free of charge on the Patriot League Network.