LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team, which clinched a fourth-place finish in the Patriot League with one of its most successful seasons on recent record, had a slight misstep on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 67-53 decision to American at Sojka Pavilion in its regular season finale. The Bison fell to 16-12 overall and 11-7 in conference action with the loss, while the Eagles, who have claimed the third seed in the upcoming league tournament, improved to 21-8 and 14-4 in Patriot League play with the victory.
Junior Audrey Dotson turned in the 13th 20+ performance of her career and her 10th of the season to lead the Bison for the second straight contest, hitting 9-of-14 (.643) from the field, including a career-high three three-pointers, and 2-of-2 from the line to tally 23 points. Senior Shelby Romine, who was honored for her accomplishments and contributions to the program prior to the contest, contributed 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, while sophomoreTyler Craig had an incredible game, registering career-highs with nine points and six rebounds, while also chipping in two assists, one block and a steal.
A quartet of Eagles scored in double-digits, led by Sarah Kiely’s 18-point effort. Alexis Dobbs contributed 17 points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Jen Dumiak and Michelle Holmes chipped in 13 points and 10 points, respectively. Dumiak also dished out nine assists and made three steals, both game-highs.
The Bison struggled from the field early in the contest, as only Dotson was able to connect on a field goal in the first 14 minutes of action, but a strong defensive effort and prowess from the line kept them in the game. Bucknell held a 5-4 edge at the first media timeout, but two ties and four lead changes later, American hit back-to-back three-pointers to open up a 15-10 advantage with 12:32 to play.
A two and a half minute scoring lull ensued, but Dotson broke through with a jumper, turning it into a three-point game. The Eagles mounted a small run, outscoring the Bison by a 9-6 margin to earn a six-point advantage, but the home team, aided by Craig and Romine, produced a scoring flurry of its own, and Dotson drained a three-pointer with 2:35 remaining to put Bucknell back on top by one.
The end of the half belonged to American however, as the Eagles closed out the first 20 minutes with a 10-0 run to take a 36-27 lead into the locker room at the half. The visitors hit 42.4 percent (14-of-33) from the field in the first stanza to the home team’s 37.5 percent (9-of-24) effort, but Bucknell played to a commanding, 23-13 edge on the glass.
Dotson got Bucknell on the board first in the second half, but Holmes scored six quick points to grab back the momentum and spark a 9-0 run that opened up a 45-29 lead for American with five minutes off the clock. Romine halted the streak with a pressured jumper, and as they are apt to do, the Bison rallied right back, summoning a 12-2 run that spanned five minutes and made it a six-point contest.
American rebuilt its lead to 54-43 with a three-pointer and two good shots from the line before each team’s defense dug in its toes, keeping the game scoreless for over three minutes. Craig connected on a lay-up with 5:05 to play to bring Bucknell within nine, but American created 13-8 scoring advantage in the final minutes to take the 67-53 victory.
Both teams shot better in the second half, with Bucknell hitting 40.0 percent (10-of-25) of its shots, but the Eagles’ 46.3 percent (25-of-54) accuracy in the contest trumped the Bison’s 38.8 percent (19-of-49) shooting. Bucknell did finish with the advantage on the boards however, out-rebounding American by a 35-28 margin.
The Bison will now switch their focus to the Patriot League Tournament, as they are set to host the first-ever women’s basketball playoff game in Sojka Pavilion on Thursday, March 6. Fourth-seeded Bucknell will welcome fifth-seeded Holy Cross, a team that has played to an 18-11 overall record and a 10-8 Patriot League mark, with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Bison. Tip-off for the quarterfinal game is scheduled for 7 p.m., and tickets may be purchased in person at the Campus Box Office, over the phone at 570-577-1000 or online. The contest will also be video streamed by Bison Vision and available free of charge on the Patriot League Network.