LEWISBURG, Pa. - Kate Walker's driving three-point play with 30 seconds left pushed Bucknell's lead to five points, and the Bison women's basketball team held on for the 64-59 victory over Binghamton Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion. It was the third straight win for Bucknell, which improved to 5-3 on the season. The Bearcats lost for just the second time in their last six games as they fell to 4-3 this year.
Walker led Bucknell with a season-high 18 points. Following a timeout with 37 seconds remaining and the Bison leading 61-59, she quickly attacked and converted a driving layup on which she was fouled. Walker made the ensuing free throw to stretch the lead to five. Binghamton failed to convert on its next possession, and Bucknell proceeded to run out the clock for the victory.
“We saw some fire out of Kate Walker today,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “She has played well, but it might not have been showing up in the box score. I don’t want to put too much pressure on her, but there have been moments during the first five or six weeks of this season that she has looked like the best player in the league.”
The game was close most of the way, although the Bison did stretch the lead to 11 points late in the third quarter. Binghamton led by eight points in the first quarter.
Bucknell's bench outscored Binghamton's 22-2 thanks to nine points from Ally Johnson and seven points from Gia Hayes. Johnson connected on three of her four shots from beyond the arc, while the Bison shot 8-of-17 as a team.
“She was going against some very good defenders today and really held her own,” Roussell said of Johnson, a freshman. “She led us on the offensive end during that second quarter.”
The Bison held a 45-38 rebounding edge with Catherine Romaine leading the way with 11. She also had six points and four steals. Kaitlyn Slagus registered 11 points, seven rebounds, and three assists while helping her team finish with a 30-20 advantage in points in the paint.
Kyi English had been one of the Bison’s top scorers over the past four games, but with Binghamton’s shot blocking ability and size inside, she went into facilitator mode and matched her career high with seven assists. The junior has two games with at least six assists this season.
Bucknell has beaten Binghamton in five consecutive seasons, but this improved Bearcats team was the toughest test yet. They returned nearly their whole team after giving the Bison a lot of trouble in a 67-57 loss last season.
Binghamton received most of its production from a pair of players as Kai Moon led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and Imani Watkins added 16 points. Jasmine Sina chipped in with nine points.
“Imani Watkins is one of the best mid-major guards in the country, and we knew she would be a tough cover,” Roussell said. “Rachel Dumiak did a good job making her work. I was really proud of the effort. I think she had some tired legs out there, and I think part of that was us making them work for everything.”
Bucknell will now play its next five games on the road beginning with a 1 p.m. contest at Iona on Sunday, Dec. 3.