BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bucknell sophomore Ellie Mack scored a career-high 20 points, but a 25-point quarter by Lehigh was too much to overcome as the Bison fell to the Mountain Hawks 66-62 in Patriot League women’s basketball action Thursday at Stabler Arena.
The two teams entered with identical record and tied for second in the league standings. Lehigh exited at 10-6 overall and 4-1 in the conference, while Bucknell dropped to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in the league.
Bucknell finished with a 43-25 advantage on the boards but was outscored 18-8 off turnovers. Lehigh shot 58 percent (7-12) from beyond the arc and connected on 13-of-15 free throw attempts, including 4-of-4 by Quinci Mann in the final minute. Mann was 8-for-8 from the line in the game and led all scorers with 27 points.
“It was a tough loss for us tonight,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “Mann was terrific, and we made too many mistakes to get a road win against a good team.”
Bucknell held Lehigh to five points in the second quarter and took a 28-21 lead into the half. The Bison led by nine before the Mountain Hawks scored in the final seconds on an easy putback. Senior Catherine Romaine led the team in scoring at the break, tallying all seven of her point for the game on 3-of-3 shooting.
The Bison scored five points in the first 45 seconds of the third quarter to go up 12, but Lehigh countered with a 12-0 run to tie the game at 33-33. Slagus put the Bison back up on a 3-point play by Slagus at the other end, only to have the Mountain Hawks tie it back up with a 3-pointer by Mann. That was the last Bison lead of the game.
Lehigh led by nine, 60-51, with 2:26 to play before Bucknell came storming back. Starting with back-to-back buckets by Mack, the Bison went on a 9-2 run to get within two, 62-60, after a 3-pointer by Mack with 33 seconds showing on the clock. Mann hit two clutch free throws and then added two more after another Mack basket to clinch the win for the Mountain Hawks.
“We played great in the second quarter and came out tough to start the second half, but then they really hit their groove,” Roussell said. “It was great to see the comeback attempt, but when you dig a hole you force yourself to be perfect, and we weren’t quite that late.”
Mack, who was in the game for 19 minutes, scored 15 of her 20 points in the second half, including 11 in the final 4:23 of the game. She went 8-of-13 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, and made two of her three free throw attempts. She is averaging 16.5 points over the past two games.
Mann’s 27 points were the most allowed by Bucknell since giving up 28 to Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Cameryn Benz joined Mann in double-figures with 13 points.
Bucknell welcomes Colgate to Sojka Pavilion for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday. The Raiders are 4-12 overall and 0-5 in the Patriot League after losing 62-49 to Boston University on Thursday.
“We will learn lessons from this, we will finish stronger around the rim, and you will see a better team on Sunday,” Roussell said.