LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team started out strong and battled right down to the final buzzer, but it wasn’t quite enough to overcome Holy Cross’ 55.4 percent shooting performance, as the squad dropped a 79-66 decision to the visitors in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday evening at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison, who finished the conference season with an 11-7 mark, dropped to 16-13 overall with the loss, while the Crusaders, who played to a 10-8 league mark in 2014, improved to 19-11 overall and will go on to play at Navy in the Patriot League semifinals on Monday.
Junior Audrey Dotson led a quartet of Bison who scored in double-digits, tallying 16 points and pulling down seven rebounds, while also contributing three steals, two assists and a block. Freshman Claire DeBoer, who also had seven boards, and sophomore Claire Maree O'Bryan each had 13 points, while senior Shelby Romine came away with 10 points and five steals. Freshman Megan McGurk also had a solid all-around performance, finishing the night with six points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists.
Raquel Scott was unstoppable for the Crusaders, registering a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while also dishing out four assists. Alex Smith also finishing the night with a double-double, scoring 13 points and handing out 12 assists, while Lisa Mifsud and Molly Hourigan finished with double-digit point totals, scoring 14 and 10, respectively.
Bucknell came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, jumping out to a 9-2 lead after just three minutes of play, and forcing Holy Cross to call a timeout. The Crusaders tightened up the contest after the 30 second break, scoring five straight to make it a two-point game. DeBoer converted a three-point play to extend the Bison’s lead, but another five points from the visitors knotted the score at 12-12 with 14:10 to play.
Junior Micki Impellizeri came through with a clutch layup off of a great feed from sophomore Tyler Craig to snap the tie, and then converted again off a dish from O’Bryan, building Bucknell’s lead to four, but Mifsud drained a three just seconds later, giving the home team a tenuous one-point edge.
The Bison remained ahead through two scoreless minutes, but the Crusaders claimed their first lead of the night with 10:57 to play. Bucknell would tie things up twice and regain the lead on two more occasions, but Holy Cross pulled ahead on a long three by Smith and would stay in control for the rest of the stanza, outscoring the home team 15-11 down the stretch to take a 37-34 lead into the locker room at the half.
Both teams were fairly accurate from the field in the first 20 minutes, with the Crusaders hitting 47.1 percent (16-for-34) and the Bison sinking 40.5 percent (15-of-37). Bucknell held a 23-16 edge on the glass, but the true difference came from behind the arc, where Holy Cross drained 4-of-9 to the home team’s 0-for-6 effort.
Dotson opened the second half with a crafty layup through traffic to narrow the gap to one, but Holy Cross immediately answered, surging out to a 12-point lead on a 22-13 run that spanned the first eight minutes of the half.
The Bison, who had to overcome some shooting troubles due to a tough zone defense from the Crusaders, cut their deficit down to eight with 10:49 to play when McGurk snuck through for a layup. The rally was short-lived however, as Holy Cross took off on another lengthy run, outscoring Bucknell 16-5 to take a 75-56 lead with 3:44 remaining.
O’Bryan drained two beautiful three-pointers down the stretch, and Dotson continued to make tough plays as the clock wound down, but Holy Cross’ lead was too much to overcome, and the Crusaders claimed the 79-66 win, knocking the Bison out of the 2014 Patriot League Tournament.
Holy Cross finished the contest shooting 55.4 percent (36-of-65) from the field, sparked largely by their 64.5 percent (20-for-31) effort in the second half. Bucknell, which improved to 44.0 percent (11-of-25) in the final 20 minutes, shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) overall in the contest. The Crusaders also battled to a 33-30 edge on the boards, but the Bison held the advantage at the line, hitting 73.3 percent (11-of-15) of their shots.