Dec. 30, 2010
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Rachel Voss (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland) led Bucknell women's basketball with 13 points, and Joyce Novacek (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) dominated on the glass with a game-high12 rebounds as the Bison collected their third win of the season, defeating Cornell 54-45 at Sojka Pavilion on Thursday night. Bucknell overcame some sloppy play and foul trouble in the first half to improve its record to 3-8 as it heads into its non-conference finale against Yale this weekend.
Novacek's 12 rebounds allowed her to hit a milestone, reaching 611 boards for her career. They also gave the senior her third double-digit rebounding game this year and the 16th of her career, which ranks first among current Bison.
Novacek's production against Cornell came despite seeing just seven minutes of action in the first half after she collected two fouls. Felicia Mgbada (Edison, N.J./Blaire Academy) and Lindsay Horbatuck (Avon, Conn./Avon) also saw limited playing time due to fouls, putting Bucknell's inside game in a pinch. Fortunately for the Bison, however, their guards stepped up to keep them ahead of the Big Red (1-9).
Voss tallied seven consecutive points early in the first half. After a putback layup and a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, the sophomore guard connected for a jumper at 14:40, giving Bucknell a 10-point lead. Voss and the rest of the Bison then went quiet for some time, which allowed Cornell back in the hunt briefly. The Big Red's Clare Fitzpatrick completed a three-point play a few minutes later to bring Bucknell's lead back down to five.
Cornell failed to capitalize on Bucknell's scoring drought and a handful of turnovers, committing a number of miscues of its own. After the Bison bounced back from their scoreless streak of more than three minutes, their effort again had them up by double digits. Shelby Romine (Centreville, Va./Westfield) hit a jumper for 27-16 with less than two minutes to play, putting Bucknell in a somewhat comfortable position heading into halftime.
As the teams went to the locker room, Bucknell led 27-18. Christina Chukwuedo (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) led the Bison with a career-best seven rebounds, and Romine had four assists. The Orange and Blue had also held Cornell to 25 percent shooting (7 of 28) through the first frame.
Although Bucknell had ended the first half on a high note, Cornell picked up strong in the second. The Big Red opened on an 8-2 run and played tight full-court defense to slow the Bison's progress. A 3-pointer from Stephanie Long brought Cornell to within two points at 31-29 before Bucknell could really respond.
Horbatuck was the first to try to bring the Big Red back down, drawing a foul on a layup, and Taylor Phillips (South Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South) joined in with a 3-pointer of her own, putting Bucknell up 36-29. Phillips would eventually finish the game with eight points, giving the senior a new season high.
Bucknell's mini-run was not enough to deter Cornell, however. Long hit a layup with 5:52 remaining in the game that put the Big Red up 43-42 and gave them their first lead since the scoreboard read 2-0.
The scoring advantage changed hands three more times before Romine hit a three with 3:09 left in the game. The Bison ultimately held Cornell scoreless for the last five minutes and claimed the final 10 points of the game, taking a close situation and turning it into a nine-point win.
After her quick seven points, Voss was held without a field goal in the second half. She finished 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the second, however, bringing her to her season's best 13 points. Romine claimed nine points to go along with five assists, four of which came in the first half, and three steals. Chukwuedo closed out the game with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Leading the way for Cornell were Kristina Danielak and Fitzpatrick who both had 11 points at the end of the night. Allyson DiMango had six rebounds as Bucknell bested Cornell 48-35 on the boards.
Bucknell will wrap up its non-conference schedule at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Bison will travel to New Haven, Conn., to take on Yale.