LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kaitlyn Slagus registered her 24th career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds and Bucknell outscored Holy Cross by 13 points in the second half to defeat the Crusaders 67-53 in a Patriot League quarterfinal game Monday evening in Sojka Pavilion. The second-seeded Bison will make their third straight appearance in the PL semifinals, where they will host third-seeded Navy on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Bucknell (22-8) won its 12th straight game thanks to a strong second half. The Bison led 28-27 at the break and proceeded to outscore seventh-seeded Holy Cross 39-26 over the final two quarters. Kyi English and Kate Walker posted 13 points apiece for the Bison, who won all three matchups with the Crusaders this season.
The Bison led for all but 35 seconds of the game, but they didn’t really pull away until late. The lead was just three, 46-43, before a 7-0 run pushed it to double-digits for the first time. The run included offensive and defensive highlights. Walker and Ellie Mack had layups on back-to-back possessions, the second of which followed a block by Slagus that forced a shot clock violation on Holy Cross. Catherine Romaine, a 6-3 forward that was recently named to the Patriot League All-Defensive Team, showed her versatility by capping the run with a corner 3-pointer.
“You have to tip your cap to Holy Cross. They were ready to play today, competed hard, and made things difficult for us,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “But in the end I really think our players were able to grind it out and will themselves to a win."
Romaine put together a solid all-around game, finishing with nine points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block. She was largely responsible for a defensive effort in holding Lauren Manis, the top scorer in the Patriot League, to 6-of-21 shooting.
Bucknell’s defense limited Holy Cross to 19-for-63 shooting (30.2 percent), while the Bison shot 47.9 percent (23-48) from the field. Bucknell’s starters shot 19-for-36.
The Crusaders were led by Manis, who posted 17 points and 12 rebounds, but just six points and three rebounds came after halftime. Senior Tricia Byrne added 16 points in her last career game.
Navy comes to Lewisburg after advancing past the quarterfinal round with a 63-55 win over sixth-seeded Loyola. That win came at Alumni Hall, where the Mids are 16-1 this season. They are 8-5 on the road. The Bison won each of the two matchups between the teams in the regular season, 47-39 in Lewisburg and 49-40 in Annapolis.
The Bison and Mids went head-to-head in an instant classic title game at Sojka Pavilion last year, with the Bison prevailing 79-71 in overtime.
Bucknell’s 12-game winning streak ties the program record set just one season ago. The Bison have had a double-digit winning streak in each of the last three seasons.