March 7, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s basketball team fell 53-51 in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament on Saturday night. The No. 3 Bison (16-12) were upset by No. 6 Navy at Stabler Arena despite a second-half comeback from 12 points down.
Bucknell struggled to find the bottom of the net in the opening stanza, shooting 8-for-33 (24.2%). Despite the early difficulties, the Bison found themselves trailing by a mere four points, 29-15, going into the locker room. The deficit was the largest of the game to that point for the Orange and Blue.
That the game remained so close even with Bucknell’s shooting woes was helped in part by Navy’s slow start. The Mids struck first with a jumper from Whitney Davidson at 19:44 but failed to score another point for nearly five minutes. Angela Myers, the 2009 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, ended the drought with a layup to tie the score at four apiece.
Both teams remained competitive throughout the opening 20 minutes. Bucknell benefited from a series of free throws, including back-to-back trips to the line for Amanda Brown (Richardson, Texas/L.V. Berkner) and Cosima Higham (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep Country Day). With Higham’s two successful attempts, the Bison led 9-4 seven minutes into the game.
The five-point advantage was the largest of the half for Bucknell and was duplicated four minutes later with a Higham jumper. The Midshipmen left the sophomore open at the top of the key, allowing her to hit a jump shot to put Bucknell ahead 15-10.
Navy responded with an 8-2 run that included four points from Cassie Consedine. The center shot well from the beyond the three-point arc, making her first three attempts out of four. The long-distance basket gave the Mids a 17-15 lead, their first since being up 2-0.
Consedine had 14 points at the half to lead both teams.
The teams then began to swap baskets, causing four ties and four lead changes in the final 6:36. Brown kept things close with a brief scoring outburst of her own. The senior scored six in the final five minutes, bringing her halftime total to a team-best nine.
Unlike the first half, Bucknell struck first in the second half. Lauren Schober (Chicago, Ill./Regina Dominican) hit a free throw and although the senior missed her second attempt, Higham rebounded the miss and cashed in with a layup. The three points brought the Bison to within one at 29-28, but they were unable to reclaim the lead.
The Mids began to pull away and a three-pointer could only slow them down. Navy took its first double-digit lead at 11:31 on a three-point shot from Whitney Davidson that put the tally at 43-33.
The Bison upped their intensity to get back in the game, b ut was unable to make any significant headway into Navy’s lead. Despite a smooth three point shot from Brown, Bucknell struggled to make shots in the paint. The Mids’ advantage continued to hover around 10 points into the waning minutes of the game.
Schober did her best to keep her team within striking distance. The senior rebounded her own miss in the paint and got the basket and the foul on a reverse layup. With 5:37 to play, the Bison were back to within five points at 47-42.
On the Midshipmen’s next possession, Bucknell trapped on the sideline, forcing Navy to use a timeout. The break in time did little to help as Bucknell forced an immediate turnover off a five-second call.
The Bison continued to creep back with more help from Schober. The guard scored on Bucknell’s next two possessions, including a fastbreak layup at 2:53 off her own steal. The basket brought the Bison back to within one at 47-46.
Bucknell also got some help from Navy as the Mids struggled to shoot. They went more than five minutes without a score, although the drought was broken at a key point in the game. Davidson hit her third three on the night to put Navy back up by four points.
Higham brought Bucknell back to within two with a layup, but the Bison were forced to foul as the clock wound down. Brown made a final effort at :03 with a three-pointer, but it was not enough in the end. Despite a gutsy run at the end, Bucknell fell 53-51.
Brown scored a game-high 20 points, and Schober added 12 points and a team-high four assists. Higham led both teams in rebounds with 19, a career-high for the forward. She also tallied 13 points.
Navy was led by Consedine with 18 points, being held to just four in the second half. Davidson also finished in double digits with 15. Consedine’s eight boards were a high for the Mids.
In other tournament action, Lehigh defeated Colgate, 78-54. Army also defeated Holy Cross 54-47, and in an upset, Lafayette Defeated American, 58-56.
The loss marks the end to Bucknell’s 2008-09 season. The Bison finished 16-12 overall.