LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kate Walker scored a game-high 19 points, Kaitlyn Slagus tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and the Bucknell women’s basketball team defeated Lehigh 59-52 Wednesday evening at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison won their season-best fifth game in a row as they improved to 15-8 overall and 9-3 in the Patriot League, while the Mountain Hawks fell to 13-10, 7-5 PL.
“It was a great win,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “Any wins in this league are tough, especially against Lehigh. They have been playing really well and have some good players and an outstanding coaching staff.”
Bucknell’s defense was strong as it tallied a season-high nine blocks and registered nine steals. Slagus led the team with two blocks and Kyi English paced the squad with three steals.
The Bison, who are tied with Navy in second place in the Patriot League standings, limited Lehigh to five points in the first quarter and 18 in the first half. The Mountain Hawks shot just 33.3 percent from the field, including 20.0 percent in the first half.
“The way we played defense in the first half, especially in the first quarter, was huge,” Roussell said. “I really think that energy set the tone for the game.”
Camryn Buhr led Lehigh with 14 points and nine rebounds. She was the lone Mountain Hawks player in double figures.
Bucknell never trailed in the game, but never really pulled away either. The Bison led by 11 near the end of the second quarter, but a turnover led to a Lehigh 3-pointer in the closing seconds to make the score 26-18 at the break. With the Bison leading 39-33 near the end of the third quarter, it happened again as the Mountain Hawks forced a turnover and connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut their deficit to three.
Walker helped close out the game with 10 points in the final quarter. She has led the Bison in scoring in seven consecutive games, averaging 20.1 points per game during that stretch.
A big difference between the first meeting this season, a 66-62 home win by Lehigh, and Saturday’s win by Bucknell was the team’s defense on the Mountain Hawks’ leading scorer, Quinci Mann. The senior scored 27 points, including 25 in the second half, in the first game, but was held to three points on 1-of-11 shooting the second game.
The defensive performance on Mann was a team effort, as was the defense overall. Eight players combined for the team’s nine blocks.
The Bison received solid production from the bench, including freshman Autumn Ceppi, who tallied a career-high five assists while playing a career-high 21 minutes. Abby Kapp finished with eight points, while Ellie Mack contributed five.
Bucknell improved to 9-0 in league play when holding their opponents under 60 points. The Bison look to continue that trend when they travel to play Colgate on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Raiders are 4-19 overall and 0-12 in the Patriot League after a 66-64 overtime loss to Boston University.