LEWISBURG, Pa. – Kate Walker scored 14 points, Kaitlyn Slagus added nine points and 11 rebounds, and the Bucknell women’s basketball team defeated Navy 47-39 Wednesday evening at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison defense held the Mids to a season-low point total as Navy (16-4, 6-3 PL) shot just 26.2 percent, including 17.2 percent in the first half.
Bucknell (12-8, 6-3 PL) won for the third time in its last four games as it led for virtually the entire contest. The Bison’s largest lead was 12 points midway through the fourth quarter.
“Looking at the box score it doesn’t look like it was an aesthetically pleasing game, but I actually thought it was a pretty well-played game,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “We knew it could be a grind-it-out type of game. It always is against Navy. They’re always a really tough battle.”
The Bison defense stepped up big against the top-scoring team in the Patriot League. The Mids entered the contest averaging 70.9 points per game, but had nearly every shot contested while hitting just 16 of their 61 attempts from the field, including four of their 23 shots from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Bucknell only hit 3-pointers, too, but they all came at important points in the game. Rachel Dumiak, who finished with seven points, scored the team’s first points with a shot from long range early in the game. Slagus connected on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter to double the team’s lead from three to six. The final two, drained by Autumn Ceppi and Catherine Romaine, capped an 8-0 run to give the Bison a 45-33 lead with 5:39 to play in the game.
Bucknell outrebounded Navy 44-31 as Romaine added seven boards and Walker tallied five. The Bison finished with a double-digit rebounding margin for the sixth time in seven games.
Hannah Fenske, Bianca Roach and Mary Kate Ulasewicz tallied seven points apiece to lead the Mids. Sophie Gatzounas hauled in 10 rebounds off the bench.
The Bison have won six consecutive games in the series with Navy, a notable feat considering the Mids have been one of the more consistently good teams in the Patriot League.
Navy outscored Bucknell 34-32 in the final three quarters, but the Bison gave themselves a cushion with a 15-5 advantage in the first quarter.
“Our staff has done a great job on preparation. Mike (Lane) did a great job getting us ready for Navy tonight,” Roussell said. “Our players were locked in and were excited to give the effort they knew it would take. You could see that energy in the first quarter.”
At the halfway point of the league schedule, Bucknell, Lehigh, and Navy are in a three-way tie for second place and sit three games back of American.
The Bison are back in action Saturday when they host Boston University for a 2 p.m. game. The Terriers are 8-11 overall and 3-6 in the conference after a 47-45 loss to Lafayette. Bucknell won the season’s first matchup between the teams 63-58 in Boston.