EASTON, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team stumbled on Wednesday evening, dropping an 87-64 decision to Lafayette at the Kirby Sports Center. The home team used a red hot shooting performance to overcome the visitors, and while the Bison played with plenty of hustle, keeping things close at the half, they were unable to find an answer to the Leopards in the final 20 minutes of play. Bucknell fell to 12-9 overall and 7-4 in the Patriot League with the loss, while Lafayette improved to 12-10 overall and 6-5 in conference action with the victory.  

Three different Bison scored in double-figures in the contest, led by senior Shelby Romine’s 12-point performance. Freshman Megan McGurk tallied 11 points to register her third consecutive game at 10+, and junior Audrey Dotson finished with 10, all scored in the second half of play. Dotson and Romine each had five rebounds to lead the squad on the glass, while sophomore Tyler Craig matched her career-high with eight points and handed out a team-high three assists.

Madeline Fahan and Kelly Loughney each scored 16 points to lead the Leopards, and three additional players surpassed the 10-point mark. Emily Homan and Jamie O’Hare each chipped in 12 points, while Linnel Macklin had 11. Homan pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to complete the double-double and also added five blocks to her stat line.

Lafayette took an early lead on Bucknell, spurred by solid three-point shooting and a tough presence in the paint, but the Bison kept things close, tying things up on two occasions. Craig gave the squad its first lead of the night at 13:23, hitting two from the line to put Bucknell up 12-10, and while the Leopards answered with another three-pointer, Craig battled through traffic for a layup that tipped the score in the Bison’s favor again.

Three lead changes and three ties later the score was knotted 20-20 with 8:25 on the clock, but Romine connected on a nifty over-the-head layup with her back to the hoop to give Bucknell a 22-20 advantage in an extremely tight battle. The Leopards responded loudly however, embarking on an 11-0 run that spanned almost four minutes to gain a 31-22 edge.

A few momentum-swinging plays from McGurk brought the Bison back into the game, as the point guard converted a steal into a fastbreak layup and was fouled on another steal just seconds later, hitting both parts of a one-and-one to slice the Leopards’ lead to five. The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch, with Lafayette leading by as many as nine, but a 7-2 run by Bucknell in the final two minutes narrowed the home team’s lead to just 39-35 at the half.

The Bison shot 38.7 percent (12-of-31) in the first half, including 50 percent from long-range, while the Leopards hit 43.6 percent (17-of-39) from the field. Bucknell held a 24-19 edge on the glass, but Lafayette’s 10 offensive boards trumped the Bison’s nine.

The Leopards upped the ante in the second stanza, opening with a 7-0 run that forced the Bison to call an early timeout. Dotson and freshman Claire DeBoer hit back-to-back jump shots that allowed them to work around the continual pressure they faced in the paint, bringing Bucknell back within seven with plenty of time left on the clock to overcome the home squad.

The shooting performance put forth by the Leopards made a comeback difficult for the Bison however, as Lafayette outscored Bucknell 17-10 through the 10:00 mark to take a 63-50 lead. Bucknell never stopped battling, finding ways to put points on the board through a tricky zone defense, but the Leopards pulled away in the final minutes, taking an 87-64 win over the Bison.

Bucknell shot 37.1 percent from the field, hitting 23 of its 62 attempts, while Lafayette was 47.8 percent (32-of-67) in the contest, sparked by a 53.6 percent (15-of-28) shooting performance in the second 20 minutes. The Leopards were also 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from three-point range, and finished with a 43-37 advantage over the Bison on the boards.

Bucknell returns to Sojka Pavilion on Wednesday, welcoming Holy Cross for a 2 p.m. contest. The Crusaders, who earned a 79-56 win over Colgate on Wednesday night, have played to a 14-8 overall record and a 6-5 mark in the Patriot League. When the teams met on Jan.11 in Worcester, DeBoer drained a three-point shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, and the Bison earned an 83-79 win in the extra stanza. The contest will be video streamed by Bison Vision and will be available free of charge on the Patriot League Network.