WEST POINT, N.Y. – Bucknell went into the toughest place to win in the conference and left with a 60-56 victory over Army West Point in Patriot League women’s basketball action at Christl Arena on Monday night. The Bison won in West Point for the first time since 2011 and snapped the Black Knights’ 22-game home winning streak that dated back to March 9, 2015.
Senior Claire DeBoer registered her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds, helping Bucknell improve to 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League. Army West Point dropped to 10-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference. The Black Knights hadn’t lost to a conference opponent since falling to Bucknell on Jan. 2, 2016, one year to the date before Monday’s loss.
“I’m really happy for this group. They earned a hard-fought win against a good team in a tough environment,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “Our entire team had a great two days of practice, and I think that is what made tonight possible. They’ve really shown our staff a lot over the past two days and they did again tonight.”
Bucknell had to hold off a late Army rally to get the win. Senior Sune Swart, who tallied 14 points, hit a free throw to give the Bison their largest lead of the game, 60-47, with 2:40 left to play. Despite being down big with little time remaining, oddly it was the Black Knights who went to the line three times, hitting five of six shots in a span of 21 seconds to cut the Bison’s lead to 60-52.
Sophomore Madison Hovren turned back-to-back Bucknell turnovers into a pair of layups to bring Army within four points, 60-56, with 42 seconds to play. The Black Knights had two more possessions with that score, the first ending with a missed layup by Hovren and the second being thwarted by a steal by sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus that secured the win for the Bison.
Despite the close score, Bucknell never trailed in the game, holding the lead for good after a layup by Swart 17 seconds into the contest. That bucket was the start of an 8-2 run by the Bison to open the game. Swart scored the first four points, while Slagus and DeBoer added layups. All eight points came in the paint, where the Bison scored 32 of their points for the game.
All three of Bucknell’s starters in the frontcourt scored in double-figures, as Slagus scored 12 points to join DeBoer and Swart. The sophomore added eight rebounds. Slagus and Hovren, who led Army with 23 points and 12 rebounds, were the only two players in the Patriot League averaging a double-double entering the game. Hovren led all scorers, but was held to a 9-of-19 mark from the field. DeBoer and Swart were tops on the Bison with 12 shots apiece.
Senior Megan McGurk, who finished with eight points and six rebounds, had six points in the first half while helping Bucknell take a 28-25 lead at the break. The Bison led by as much as eight twice, the first coming after a 5-0 run with a 3-pointer by freshman Gia Hayes and a layup by Swart.
“We had some big moments in all facets of the game today,” Roussell said. “This was two good teams trading runs, but we made great plays on offense, defense, and on the boards, and it was enough to get a big ‘W’”
With Army’s loss at Christl Arena, Bucknell now has the longest home winning streak in the Patriot League. The Bison have won 17 straight games at Sojka Pavilion, including a 67-64 win over Navy in the league opener.
The Bison will try to make it 18 straight wins at home when they host American for an 11 a.m. tip-off on Thursday. The Eagles are 5-8 overall and 2-0 in the league following a 68-57 win over Colgate.