LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kate Walker equaled her career highs with 25 points and nine rebounds, but the second-seeded Bucknell women’s basketball team saw its Patriot League postseason come to an end with a 68-62 loss to third-seeded Navy in the semifinals Thursday evning at Sojka Pavilion. The Mids placed five starters in double-figures and were led by Taylor Dunham’s 18 points.
Bucknell (22-9) was looking to advance to the title game for the second straight season, but was unable to defeat Navy (25-6) for a third consecutive time this season. The Mids forced 22 turnovers and limited the Bison to 6-for-27 shooting from 3-point range while ending their seven-game losing streak in the series.
Navy won for the ninth time in its last 11 games as it advanced to the championship game for the seventh time. The Mids never trailed, although Bucknell cut the lead to one possession on three occasions in the fourth quarter.
Two free throws by Rachel Dumiak with 1:10 to play brought the Bison to within 63-60, but Navy made 3-of-4 free throws and converted a layup in the final minute to hold off Bucknell.
The Bison outrebounded Navy 43-28 as Kaitlyn Slagus posted a game-high 10 boards and Catherine Romaine had nine. Slagus also scored 15 points – all in the second half – notching her 25th career double-double and her sixth in the past seven games.
Slagus carried Bucknell in the third quarter, scoring 13 straight points on 6-of-6 shooting during one stretch. Unfortunately for the Bison, Navy continually responded at the other end and finished with a 23-21 advantage in the quarter.
It was a similar story during stretches that Walker took over offensively for Bucknell. She tallied nine points and seven rebounds in the first half, but the Mids stiil took a 28-24 lead into the break. The Bison junior scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, but the Mids stayed equal on the scoreboard with a 17-17 deadlock in the quarter.
Romaine, who along with Carly Richardson is a part of the winningest class in program history, put together a quality showing in what figures to be the final home game of her career. She finished with nine rebounds, three assists, and a block. Kyi English added seven points, while Dumiak matched a career-high with seven rebounds in addition to three assists.
Joining Dunham in double-digit scoring for Navy were Hannah Fenske (13), Laurel Jaunich (10), Kaila Clark (10), and Bianca Roach (10).
Bucknell now awaits its postseason fate. If American defeats Navy in the Patriot League title game Sunday, the Bison reveive an automatic bid to the WNIT. If Navy wins, the Bison will wait until Monday's WNIT bracket reveal to see if they receive an at-large bid.