LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell came through with clutch plays on both ends of the floor to rally for a 73-67 overtime win over visiting American in Patriot League women’s basketball play Thursday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison improved to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the Patriot League with their sixth straight win, while extending their home winning streak to 18 games. The Eagles, one of just three unbeatens through the first two conference games, fell to 5-9 overall and 2-1 in the league.
“I was incredibly proud of the effort today,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “I don’t think we did anything perfect today; they took a lot of things away. That’s a credit to them. It was a great game and good for us to come away with the win.”
Bucknell trailed by 11 at one point in the second quarter and was still down seven midway through the fourth. Trailing 55-49 with 6:20 to play, the Bison went on a 6-0 run to tie the game. Sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus hit a pair of free throws, senior Megan McGurk scored on a layup, and senior Claire DeBoer added two more from the line with 4:20 showing on the clock.
American responded and led by four with less than a minute to play. Sophomore Kate Walker, who had numerous clutch shots in the second half, cut the lead in half with 56 seconds left on the clock, and senior Sune Swart tied it with a putback with 15 seconds remaining. DeBoer helped force overtime with a huge block in the paint at the other end.
DeBoer, who scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half and overtime, scored the first five points of the extra period, and Slagus added a pair of free throws to give Bucknell a seven-point lead, 68-61. The Eagles would get as close as three, but sophomore Kyi English drove for a layup, and the Bison hit three of four free throws to put the game away.
Free throw shooting proved to be pivotal as Bucknell shot 19-of-22 from the line. Slagus was a perfect 6-for-6, DeBoer hit 7-of-8, and Walker made all four of her attempts.
Bucknell did a lot of things right in the fourth quarter and overtime, but a key shot in the third quarter by English may have been just as important. With the Bison trailing by nine, 48-39, the guard brought the ball up the floor with 4.4 seconds left and hit a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to six.
“That was a huge three by Kyi,” Roussell said. “Being down six instead of nine headed to the fourth quarter is a lot less daunting. She was struggling some before that, but I think that shot helped her play better going forward.”
Slagus finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, tying the league lead with eight double-doubles on the season. Swart, who scored Bucknell’s first six points of the game, just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Walker tallied 14 points and five boards. English and McGurk chipped in with nine points apiece.
American’s Emily Kinneston led all scorers with 26 points, but was held to just six points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. Lauren Crisler had 13 points and nine rebounds. The Eagles struggled from long range, hitting just two of their 16 3-point attempts.
Bucknell improved to 6-0 in overtime games over the past three seasons, with five of those wins coming against league opponents.
The Bison are back at Sojka Pavilion when they host Holy Cross on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Crusaders are 2-12 overall and 0-3 in the Patriot League after a 62-54 loss to Colgate.