LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell’s frontcourt trio of Kaitlyn Slagus, Claire DeBoer, and Sune Swart combined for 56 points on 53 percent shooting to lead Bucknell to a 68-62 win over Army West Point in a Patriot League women's basketball matchup Saturday at Sojka Pavilion.
Bucknell improved to 17-3 overall and is 9-0 in the Patriot League for the first time in program history. Army, the defending champion in the conference, dropped to 14-6 overall and 5-4 in the league. The Bison swept the regular season series with the Black Knights for the first time since 2011 and have now won 18 straight Patriot League regular season games.
Slagus finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds to record her 10th double-double of the season, which ranks as the eighth most in a single season in Bucknell history. DeBoer’s double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds was the 19th of her career and her fifth of the season. It was the second time this season that both Slagus and DeBoer registered double-doubles.
“We know we have three really good players inside and we’ve been able to use them all season,” Roussell said. “We knew some of our other scorers – our guards in Megan McGurk, Kyi English, and Kate Walker – would have a lot of pressure on them today to make sure they took care of the basketball. The guards did a good job of getting the ball into the post and we were able to take advantage inside.”
A large chunk of Swart's scoring came at a key time as the senior turned it on when the team needed it most in the fourth quarter. She scored 10 of her 19 points in the final quarter, including five in the final 2:22 to help stave off an Army comeback. The Bison led by as much as 13 in the second half, but the Black Knights cut the lead to one, 60-59, on a jumper by Aliyah Murray with 2:45 to play. Swart responded with a layup, had a block at the other end, and added another layup on the ensuing possession to put her team up 64-59 with 1:39 remaining.
After an Army turnover, Swart played a role in a huge offensive rebound, jumping up to get a tip on a ball that was eventually corralled by Slagus to help ice the game. She followed that by hitting one of her two free throw attempts.
Bucknell, which entered the game ranked 15th in the nation from the line at 78 percent, made 17 of their 21 attempts. Slagus was a perfect 6-for-6, DeBoer made all three of her freebies, and McGurk made her only two attempts.
The Bison finished with a 43-29 advantage on the boards, including 15 on the offensive end. DeBoer had six offensive rebounds while adding to her all-around performance with four assists. Slagus pulled down five offensive boards and was also solid all around with four blocks. It was the sophomore’s third game of the year with at least four blocks.
The game featured six lead changes and was tied five times. The teams battled to a close first half with Bucknell taking a 31-28 lead into the break. The Bison had the largest lead of the first two quarters by either team when they went up 20-15 on a Slagus 3-pointer with 8:33 to play in the second period. McGurk tallied one of her four assists on the play.
Bucknell had 16 assists on its 24 field goals. English joined DeBoer and McGurk with four helpers apiece.
The Bison extended a pair of program records, winning their 21st consecutive home game and their 12th straight contest overall. They sit one game ahead of Navy at the top of the Patriot League standings and already have a win over the Mids this season.
Madison Hovren, who entered the game as the only player in the conference averaging a double-double, paced Army with 11 points and nine rebounds. Both numbers were below her season averages.
A tough road trip awaits the Bison in the coming week as they travel to Washington, D.C., to take on American on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and then head to Worcester, Massachusetts, for a noon game on Saturday.