BALTIMORE, Md. – Bucknell erased a 14-point halftime deficit on their way to a 74-69 win over Loyola in a Patriot League women’s basketball game Wednesday night at Reitz Arena. Kaitlyn Slagus posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Kyi English scored eight of her 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bison record their seventh consecutive win.
Bucknell, which improved to 17-8 overall and 11-3 in the conference, didn’t take its first lead of the game until English hit a jumper to put the team up 59-57 with 5:54 remaining in the game. Five Bison players scored down the stretch, led by Slagus with six points, to help clinch the win. Loyola dropped to 7-19, 5-9 PL.
Catherine Romaine came through in a clutch situation with 1:21 left on the clock. With Bucknell up two, 67-65, she hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it a two possession game. It was fitting that Romaine hit such an important shot as the win made her class, which also includes senior Carly Richardson, the winningest in program history with 87 victories. The previous mark was set by the previous graduating class.
Sophomore Ellie Mack played a key role in the comeback, scoring eight of her 10 points in the second half. She scored five points in a span of six seconds late in the third quarter to help bring the Bison within four, 52-48, with a quarter to play.
“I am very proud of the way our group came out in the second half. Loyola was incredible in the first half, and we just couldn’t match it,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “But this group refocused at halftime, put their mistakes behind them, and came out with a renewed energy and played some of their best basketball to earn the win.”
The Bucknell comeback overshadowed a terrific two-player scoring combo for Loyola. Sophomore Stephanie Karcz and freshman Izzy Therien scored 26 points apiece to combine for 52 of the Greyhounds’ 69 points. They also accounted for 12 of the team’s 33 rebounds and five of their 14 assists.
The Bison shot 15-of-25 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the second half. More importantly, they turned the ball over just five times after turning it over 12 times in the first half.
“We felt we had to be close to perfect in the second half to make it work, and while we were not that, it was really inspiring to see different people step up and make plays,” Roussell said. “That was one of the most satisfying wins of the season, and hopefully we can build on this heading into Saturday’s game.”
Bucknell overcame a double-digit deficit for the 15th time in the past four seasons, but just the first time since doing so in a win over Rider in the season opener. Thirteen of those comeback wins have come against league opponents.
The 22 points matched a career-high for Slagus. She as 7-of-11 from the field and hit eight of her nine free throw attempts. English was also 7-of-11 from the field and had four assists. Mack’s 10 points came on a perfect 4-of-4 night from the field. She connected on both of her 3-point attempts.
Walker scored 12 points to give the Bison four players in double-figures. It was her ninth consecutive game scoring in double-digits.
The win prevented Bucknell from being swept by Loyola in the two-game regular season series. No league team has swept the Bison in a season series since American in 2015. The Eagles are also the only team that still has a chance to do it this season.
Up next for Bucknell is a home game against Holy Cross on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bison are still tied with Navy for second place in the Patriot League standings.