Nov. 10, 2012
CINCINNATI - Shelby Romine (Centreville, Va./Westfield) finished with a game-high 21 points and two more Bison tallied double-figure rebounding totals, but the efforts were not enough to give Bucknell women's basketball the win in its season-opening game at Xavier on Saturday afternoon. The Bison (0-1) dropped a 71-62 decision at the Cintas Center in head coach Aaron Roussell's Bucknell debut.
"I was happy with a lot of things. The effort was there," said Roussell after the game. "The biggest thing to come out of this was to see how these kids would react. There were a lot of positives."
Bucknell showed little sign of early-season jitters. The Bison trailed in the opening minutes but never by more than just a few points. They took their first lead of the day at the 13:51 mark as Romine hit a three at the top of the arc, setting the scoreboard at 12-11.
While that was the first lead change of the afternoon, Bucknell kept things close with its play in the paint. At the half, the Bison had a 21-13 edge in rebounding with six of those boards coming on the offensive glass. Xavier had just two offensive rebounds during that same time.
The effort on its own end of the floor paid off for Bucknell, which also had an 11-0 advantage in second-chance points and an 18-10 lead in points in the paint at the intermission.
Despite those efforts, Bucknell trailed 37-33 at halftime. The Musketeers had done much of their damage from the free throw line. The Bison held them without a field goal for more than four minutes mid-way through the first half, but by the time Xavier hit another bucket at 6:35, the home team still led 28-24. Up to that point, it was 10-for-10 from the free throw line. At the break, that had improved to 11-for-11, while Bucknell came in at 5-for-6.
After shooting .433 (13-43) from the floor in the first half, the Bucknell offense started to let them down a bit in the second. The Bison went 6:13 without a field goal shortly after play resumed. Romine and Alyssa Dunn (Mason, Ohio/Seven Hills School) combined for a nice drive-and-dish play that gave Dunn an open jumper at the 16:42 mark. That brought Xavier's lead down nto one point at 41-40.
Bucknell's next basket from the field came at 10:29 as Romine hit another three from the top of the key. The Musketeers' lead had grown to 56-48 at that point, but the junior's offensive spurt seemed to put some life back in the Bison's legs. Romine it another catch-and-shoot jumper, and Bucknell got the lead back down to single digits shortly after. The Musketeers kept up their pace initially, however, and despite Xavier going the last 6:34 without a field goal, the Bison were unable to make up the total deficit.
By the end of the game, Bucknell's field goal percentage had dropped to .361 (22-61) with a .290 (9-31) mark in the second half. Xavier came in at .350 (21-60) for the day.
Bucknell kept up its rebounding lead, although Xavier cut into it throughout the second half of play. At the final buzzer, the Bison had the 43-41 advantage. Lindsay Horbatuck (Avon, Conn./Avon) finished with 11, while Audrey Dotson (Vienna, Va./Flint Hill School) had 12, setting a career high.
Romine's performance was her 10th career game at better than 20 points. The junior hit her total today on 7-for-16 shooting from the field, including 3-for-7 from 3-point range. She was also 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Leading the way for Xavier was Lakeisha Crouch with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Shatyra Hawkes also had 29 points, while Ashley Wanninger had 15.
Bucknell's next contest will be its home opener on Wednesday. The Bison host Saint Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion. The first 250 fans will receive a free schedule poster.