Bison Women's Basketball Struggles Down the Stretch, Falls 62-54 to Saint Francis

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Lindsay Horbatuck grabbed 15 rebounds vs. Saint Francis on Wednesday night.
Lindsay Horbatuck grabbed 15 rebounds vs. Saint Francis on Wednesday night.

Nov. 14, 2012

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LEWISBURG, Pa. - It was a game of runs and Bucknell women's basketball couldn't come up with the last word as the Bison fell 62-54 to Saint Francis (Pa.) at Sojka Pavilion in their home opener on Wednesday night. The Red Flash (2-0) ended the game on a 17-7 run, powered by a 22 point-19 rebound performance from Alli Williams, to secure the victory while the Bison (0-2) were led by Lindsay Horbatuck's (Avon, Conn./Avon) 15 boards and Shelby Romine's (Centreville, Va./Westfield) 12 points.

Each team saw its share of streaky offense throughout the game. Bucknell went 10:08 between field goals during one first-half stretch. The second half saw the Bison bounce back for an early 9-0 run but then immediately come up on the short end of a 14-2 streak for the Red Flash. The most important run came late in the game, however, when Saint Francis went claimed 17 of the final 24 points in the last 6:18 of play.

"We did a nice job of handling their pressure early, but I thought we had some empty possessions because we took some quick shots," head coach Aaron Roussell said after the game. "I think we really struggled to finish tonight across the board. If we don't get outworked today, it's a different result."

Saint Francis' final eight-point lead had the potential to be larger, but its free throw shooting failed them late. The Red Flash were just 4-for-10 from the line in the final minute and they ultimately finished the night at 10-for-21 (.476).

Saint Francis also claimed the rebounding advantage in the game, 51-46. Horbatuck fell one rebound shy of her career high with 15 boards. She was bested on Wednesday only by Saint Francis' Williams with 19 rebounds. No other player from either team had more than six boards.

The offense for both teams was slow to get rolling. Romine hit the night's first bucket, a 3-pointer at 18:36, and Saint Francis didn't get on the board until 16:02 when Aisha Brock hit a three of her own. At the first media timeout, the score read just 5-3 and by halftime Bucknell led 23-20 despite its field goal drought of more than 10 minutes.

The second half saw more offense from both squads, although neither team truly took control of play. The Bison did their best to make a move soon after play resumed and went up by eight, their largest lead of the night at 34-26 with 16 minutes to play.

Saint Francis responded with 14 of the next 16 points, however. Included in that stretch was six points from Williams. By the time the forward capped off the run with a fastbreak layup, the Red Flash had taken a 41-36 advantage.

Bucknell stayed within striking distance for the next several minutes, tying the game three times and taking a pair of brief leads on buckets from Romine. The Bison's last lead came with 5:41 to play after the guard hit two free throws and set the score at 50-48. Williams registered eight of Saint Francis' next 10 points and after a free throw from Brittany Lilley took a 59-51. The eight-point advantage was the Red Flash's largest of the night only to be tied at the final score despite their struggles from the line.

After shooting 6-for-26 (.231) from the field in the first half, Bucknell got a slight improvement to 15-for-56 (.268) for the game. Its .268 shooting percentage was the lowest since going 10-for-39 (.256) from the field at West Virginia on Dec. 28, 2011. The Bison were 20-for-27 (.741) from the free throw line on Wednesday with some help from Audrey Dotson (Vienna, Va./Flint Hill School), who was 6-for-6 at the line.

Bucknell held Saint Francis to a 24-for-74 (.324) clip from the floor. The Red Flash shot 9-for-34 (.265) in the first half before upping their percentage to better than 37 percent in the second. Both teams were 4-for-18 (.222) from behind the 3-point arc.

Bucknell will return to action looking for its first win of the year when it travels to Buffalo, N.Y., to take on Canisius on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.