LEWISBURG, Pa. – Senior Claire DeBoer scored 22 points and dished out four assists, and Bucknell shot 60 percent from the field in a 78-66 win over visiting Drexel on Sunday at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison improved to 4-2, beating a Drexel team that was coming off a win over No. 11 Syracuse.
“I was really proud of the way we bounced back after a couple of tough losses against two good teams in North Carolina,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “We’ve been looking for that signature win. Drexel may be a mid-major, but in name only. They are a very good team. No disrespect to anyone else, but that may be the best and most complete team we have played this year.”
Bucknell had four players score in double-figures, including sophomore Kate Walker with a career-high 17 points. She was 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc while adding five rebounds. Walker came off the bench for the second time this season, but still managed to score 12 first-half points on four 3-pointers to help the Bison take a 39-22 lead into the break.
Senior Megan McGurk entered the starting lineup and matched a career-high with seven assists. Sophomore Kyi English played her lowest minute total of the season, but turned in her most efficient game with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, showing off her ability to beat her defender with driving layups and the occasional pull-up jumper.
DeBoer did the same, repeatedly getting to the hoop and finishing. She went 10-of-14 from the field and added a pair of 3-pointers for good measure. Her four rebounds give her exactly 700 for her career as she became just the seventh player in program history with at least 1,200 points and 700 rebounds. She passed Stacey Spitko and Susie Hopper to move into 14th on Bucknell’s all-time scoring list with 1,234 points.
When McGurk wasn’t setting up her teammates with open looks, senior Sune Swart was cleaning things up in the paint. She finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. Sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus had eight points and five rebounds.
The Bison finished with a 38-14 advantage in points in the paint. The 60 percent shooting was the team’s best since shooting 65 percent in a win over Binghamton in 2013.
Drexel entered the game as the third-ranked mid-major program in the country by ESPN. The Dragons, who dropped to 3-2 with the loss, had a 23-point win over Penn State in addition to the win over nationally-ranked Syracuse. Their lone loss came by 10 points to Vanderbilt.
Sarah Curran paced Drexel with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Meghan Creighton, who scored a career-high 23 points in the win over the Orange, tallied 11 points in a losing effort on Sunday.
DeBoer scored on a layup four seconds after the opening tip, and Bucknell never trailed in the game. The Bison jumped out to a 10-point lead, 14-4, on a trey by Walker, and then put it back to double-digits again with a 3-pointer by Slagus two possessions later. The largest lead of the game was 18 when English put the Bison up 69-51 on a layup with 7:02 left in the final quarter.
Bucknell has won 14 straight games at Sojka Pavilion, a streak that stretches back to a loss to Youngstown State on Dec. 2, 2015. The longest home winning streak in program history is 15 games, which came at Davis Gym over parts of three seasons from 1994-96.
The home winning streak will be put on hold for a while as the Bison play their next three games on the road. The road trip starts on Wednesday with a 10:30 a.m. game at Akron. The Bison beat the Zips 74-70 in the WNIT First Round last season.