LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell’s Kate Walker scored 19 points, but the Bison couldn’t overcome an outstanding individual effort by Loyola’s Stephanie Karcz in a 68-65 loss to the Greyhounds in Patriot League women’s basketball action Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion.
Karcz stuffed the stat sheet and nearly posted a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, four steals, and two blocks to help the Greyhounds improve to 5-13 overall and 2-5 in the Patriot League. The Bison fell to 10-8 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
“I didn’t think we had the same energy that we’ve had in other games. I think we kind of eased up at moments,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “We keep saying we have to learn from this and get better – and that was definitely a tough one – but we will and we will come back strong.”
Bucknell trailed by 12, 55-43, early in the fourth quarter, but battled back to get within one, 62-61, following a pair of free throws by Walker with 35 seconds left on the clock. Loyola hit two free throws at the other end to go back up three and then appeared to have the game nearly in hand after forcing a five-second violation on an inbounds attempt by the Bison.
Trailing 64-61, Walker came through with what had the potential to be a game-changing play, stealing Loyola’s inbounds pass. That led to two free throws by Ellie Mack to bring Bucknell back within one. The teams traded two free throws for the next three possessions, giving the Bison the ball down three with 4.9 seconds left. A 3-point attempt as time expired missed the mark, and the Greyhounds won in Lewisburg for the first time since 2003.
Bucknell started fast with a 13-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but Loyola responded to that with an 11-4 advantage to close out the frame. Catherine Romaine sparked Bucknell’s fast start with seven points and an assist in the first five minutes. The Greyhounds went on to take a slim 32-30 lead at the half, and led 53-43 after three quarters.
Unfortunately for the Bison, they were without Walker for a portion of the game after she got into foul trouble. Her 19 points and four rebounds came in 26 minutes of playing time. She was 7-of-9 from the foul line, helping the team go 20-of-23 for the game.
Romaine finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Abby Kapp hit both of her attempts from beyond the arc and tallied 10 points. Mack recorded nine points and five boards, while Kyi English paced the team in assists with four.
Izzy Therien and Alexis Gray had 16 points apiece for Loyola. Therien scored 12 points in the second half.
“We knew what Therien could do, and obviously Karcz is one of the best players in the league,” Roussell said. “But I thought we kind of let them into their comfort zone. We’ve worked hard and come a long way at doing the things we do well, but unfortunately tonight we just weren’t able to do that.”
Bucknell travels to play Holy Cross on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Crusaders are 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the league after posting back-to-back wins over Boston University (60-57) and Army West Point (70-62, OT).