Bucknell Women's Basketball Aims to Turn Corner at Towson Wednesday

Katherine Harris

Dec. 18, 2012

Bucknell (5-4) at Towson (4-4) Women's Basketball
WHERE: Lewisburg, Pa., Sojka Pavilion
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 19, 5 p.m.
RADIO: SportsJuice.com
STREAMING VIDEO: TowsonTigers.com video camera
LIVE STATISTICS: TowsonTigers.com

Now that the exam period has concluded, Bucknell women’s basketball is now able to turn its full attention to the hardcourt. The Bison are looking to end a two-game losing skid against Towson, a team they haven’t beat since 1989, when the teams tip off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The Tigers are also attempting to end a streak of their own having lost each of their last three contests.

With Bucknell classes on winter break, Wednesday’s game can be heard exclusively online at SportsJuice.com with Danny Will calling all the action. Live stats and video will be available at TowsonTigers.com.

• End a two-game losing streak and avoid its longest skid of the season.
• Earn its first win over the Tigers since Feb. 18, 1989 when the school was still known as Towson State.
• Claim its sixth win of the season, giving it one more victory than it had all of last year.
• Earn its sixth win by the 10th game for the first time since 2006-07.

Audrey Dotson became the season’s first Patriot League Player of the Week for Bucknell and the team’s second Bison Athlete of the Week on Monday. The sophomore had 27 points and 17 rebounds vs. Longwood on Saturday.
• With 10 rebounds vs. Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 28, Sheaira Jones became the first Bison other than Lindsay Horbatuck and Audrey Dotson to lead Bucknell in rebounding since Jan. 14, 2012.
• Thirty of Bucknell’s 36 blocked shots this season have come in the last five games. Audrey Dotson has 47.2 percent of those blocks, tallying 17 rejections on the year.
• Bucknell has five wins this season (5-4). The Bison totaled five all of last year (5-25).
Felicia Mgbada finished her junior year ranked seventh at Bucknell in single-season blocked shots (39). She is now tied for eighth in career blocks (80).
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in defensive rebounds (33.3) and ranks second in overall boards (45.1). Lindsay Horbatuck sits atop the individual list with 10.2 rebounds per game.
Aaron Roussell collected his first win as Bucknell head coach on Nov. 17 at Canisius. The Bison defeated the Golden Griffins 59-50 in Buffalo.
Aaron Roussell was hired as Bucknell’s ninth head coach in April 2012. Roussell spent eight years at the University of Chicago where he amassed a 161-50 record and led the Maroons to three Sweet Sixteens and one Elite Eight.
• The Bison return four starters and 10 letterwinners from a year ago. Bucknell’s only loss from the starting five was guard Christina Chukwuedo, who led the Patriot League in assist/turnover ratio last season.

Like the Bison, Towson is in the midst of a skid having lost each of its last three games. The Tigers’ most recent outing ended in a 45-point loss, 88-43, to No. 9 Maryland. It was their first loss at home, bringing their record at the Towson Center to 2-1 this season. Towson and Bucknell do have one common opponent this winter in Morgan State. The Tigers won their meeting with the Bears, 61-57 in early November. The Bison took a 72-64 victory over the Bears just after Thanksgiving.

Towson went 16-14 overall and 7-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association before falling in the first round of the conference tournament. The Tigers return three starters from that team but lose Krystal Purnell to graduation. Purnell was named Third Team All-CAA and led Towson in scoring (12.1) and assists (119).

• The series with Towson has not had many changes in momentum since beginning in 1981. Bucknell won the teams’ first meeting, 56-48, but Towson took the next seven. The Bison then responded with their own winning streak, earning victories in the next five games. Since then, Towson has won eight of the last nine.
• With Towson having a 16-7 series record lead, it isn’t much of a surprise that the Tigers have the stronger scoring average in those 23 meetings. Towson is putting up 70.5 points per game against Bucknell, which is averaging 63.9 points. When playing at Towson, the difference grows slightly at 70.2 points per game for the Tigers and 60.9 for the Bison.
• During the current seven-game losing streak to Towson, Bucknell is being outscored by 12.9 points per contest. Each of the last three meetings have been decided by at least 11 points.
• Bucknell was 6-9 against Towson when the two teams were members of the East Coast Conference. One of those wins came in March 1987 to give the Bison a conference tournament victory over the Tigers. Bucknell pulled out the 77-74 win in that game.
• Recent Results:
Feb. 21, 1994 Towson, 83-73
Dec. 28, 1996 Towson, 61-54
Jan. 3, 1998 Towson, 75-53
Dec. 3, 2008 Towson, 62-51
Dec. 7, 2009 Towson, 59-48

• Dec. 15, 2012: Longwood 60, Bucknell 52 (Sojka Pavilion)
Audrey Dotson put together the best night of her career, tallying 27 points and 17 rebounds, but the rest of the Bison offense went cold as Bucknell dropped an eight-point decision to Longwood coming out of the exam break. It was the first 20-point game and the first double-double of Dotson’s career.
• Bucknell shot 45.5 percent (10-22) from the field in the first half, but that percentage dropped to .200 (6-20) in the second. That allowed Longwood to make up a 2-point halftime deficit, outscoring the Bison 34-24 in the second half.
Shelby Romine registered her own rebounding career high with 11 boards. It was the junior’s first game with double-digit rebounds. As a team, Bucknell out-rebounded Longwood 51-30. The +21 rebounding margin was the largest of the season for the Bison.
• Bucknell committed 25 turnovers on the night with 17 of those miscues coming in the first half alone. The Lancers finished with 21 points off turnovers.

Audrey Dotson became the latest Bucknellian to claim honors for women’s basketball. The sophomore became the first Bison this season to be named the Anaconda Patriot League Player of the Week. She was also named the Bison Athlete of the Week. Both awards came thanks to a career night against Longwood where she totaled 27 points, which made up more than half of the team’s total scoring, and 17 rebounds to earn her first double-double while wearing the Orange & Blue. It was also her first career game at better than 20 points.

With 27 points in Bucknell’s 60-52 loss to Longwood on Dec. 15, Audrey Dotson accounted for more than half of Bucknell’s scoring. The last Bison to accomplish that feat was Bucknell all-time leading scorer Molly Creamer on Feb. 21, 2003. Creamer scored 44 points in a 71-67 Bucknell victory over Lafayette. Her 44 points still stands as the single-game record for both Bucknell and the Patriot League.

Few players were happier to see the calendar flip to December than Audrey Dotson. In three games this month, Dotson is averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, both of which lead the team. The sophomore’s scoring total has come on 19-for-35 (.543) shooting from the field and 14-for-16 (.875) shooting from the free throw line. Dotson’s 12 blocks is also a Bucknell high this month.

Audrey Dotson’s standout performance against Longwood led to all kinds of milestones. The sophomore’s 27 points ...
• Was the most by any player in the Patriot League this season (through games of Dec. 16).
• Broke her career high by 12. Her previous best had been 15 set Dec. 1 vs. Buffalo.
• Was the most by a Bison since teammate Shelby Romine scored 28 points at Colgate on Jan. 22, 2011. Romine broke the Bucknell record for free throws in that game, shooting 19-for-21 in the win over the Raiders.
• Improved her season scoring average from 8.6 to 10.7 points.
• Brought her season scoring total to 96 points. Dotson totaled 44 points all of last season.

Dotson’s 17 rebounds ...
• Was the most by any player in the Patriot League this season (through games of Dec. 16).
• Broke her career high by five rebounds. Her previous best had been 12 set Nov. 10 at Xavier.
• Included seven offensive rebounds. Longwood registered seven offensive boards as a team.
• Included 10 defensive rebounds, more than any Longwood player had overall on the night.

Against Longwood on Dec. 15, 20 of Bucknell’s 52 points came in the paint. That is not much of a surprise when looking at the statistical breakdown of the Bison starters in that game. Forwards Audrey Dotson and Lindsay Horbatuck combined for 33 points on the night, shooting 10-for-21 (.476) from the field. Guards Shelby Romine, Alyssa Dunn and Sheaira Jones combined for eight points and shot 3-for-21 (.111) from the field.

Bucknell has seen an improvement in its outside shooting this season compared to last. The Bison are 29-for-122 (.238) from behind the 3-point arc this winter after going 7-for-66 (.106) through the first nine games of 2011-12. The last two games have been a struggle, however, as the Bison are a combined 3-for-27 (.111) against Penn and Longwood.

Katherine Harris has all three of those 3s and is 3-for-7 (.429) from behind the arc. The sophomore is averaging 5.5 points and is shooting .400 overall from the field in the last two games.

Shelby Romine and Alyssa Dunn continue to lead Bucknell in assists with 3.7 and 3.2 per game, respectively. A bit more surprising is the three-way tie for third. Forwards Audrey Dotson, Lindsay Horbatuck and Felicia Mgbada are all averaging 1.3 assists this season. No other Bison has more than five helpers.

Audrey Dotson was 11-for-12 from the free throw line against Longwood on Dec. 15, helping her to her 27-point performance. As a freshman, Dotson was 4-for-10 from the line for the entire season.

Audrey Dotson (17) and Shelby Romine (11) both finished with double-digit rebounding totals against Longwood on Dec. 15 and both totals were personal highs. It was the second time this season that two Bison had reached double figures in the same game. Dotson (12) and Lindsay Horbatuck (11) were the first to accomplish the feat on Nov. 10 at Xavier in Bucknell’s season opener.

As of Dec. 16, Bucknell maintained its position in the national statistical rankings. The Bison were 14th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.318) and 30th in rebounding margin (+8.8).

Aaron Roussell became Bucknell’s ninth head coach when he was hired in April 2012. Of the eight previous Bucknell head coaches, only one – Rebecca Carr – registered a winning season in her debut campaign. The second coach in program history, Carr went 6-4 in 1976-77 before ultimately finishing her four-year tenure with the Bison with a 31-30 record. Two coaches – Cindy Connelley (1983-84) and Juliene Simpson (1991-97) – improved Bucknell’s wins totals in their first seasons. Connelley’s nine wins was a one-game improvement, while Simpson had a five-win improvement with her debut record of 7-20.

Roussell inherits a team that is coming off a season in which it went 5-25 overall and 3-11 in the Patriot League and returns all but two of its letterwinners. Bucknell is already 5-4 in 2012-13.

Despite the overtime loss to Penn on Dec. 3, Bucknell held an opponent to less than .300 shooting for the third time in four games. The Quakers were just .288 (19-66) from the field. Bucknell also limited Morgan State to .278 (29-72) from the field, while Mount St. Mary’s was .246 (15-61). The only interruption in the Bison’s defensive streak was Buffalo, which finished the game at .324 (23-71) from the field after being held to .257 (9-35) in the first half on Dec. 1.

Entering last Saturday’s game vs. Longwood, Bucknell was averaging 63.8 points. That was the highest scoring average after the season’s first eight games since the 2003-04 Bison also opened at 63.8. That team, which began the campaign with a 4-4 record, ultimately finished at 15-14. Desire Almind led the Bison in scoring for the year with 17.3 points per game. Lindsey Hollobaugh added 16.7 points per game that winter.

Just because they played an extra period doesn’t mean Bucknell and Penn put up extra points. The Bison and Quakers combined for just 111 points (58-53) on Dec. 3, making it the second-lowest scoring overtime game in Bucknell history. The only overtime contest to see fewer points was a 50-47 (97 combined points) Bison win over Army in the Patriot League Tournament on March 8, 2008. That Bucknell team went on to win the tournament and earn the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.

The Bison have seen both extremes in scoring in some of their most recent games. Bucknell scored 78 points against Buffalo on Dec. 1, the most of the season. It then put up just 53 on Dec. 3 at Penn, the fewest points this winter.

Bucknell is currently averaging 45.1 rebounds per game. Although the year is still young, if the season were to end today, that mark would rank sixth in the program record book. No team has cracked Bucknell’s top 10 in rebounding average since the 1989-90 squad finished at 42.2 boards per game.

Now there are more ways than ever to follow the Bison. Head coach Aaron Roussell (@CoachRous) and assistant coach Christian Stefanopoulos (@CStef23) are both on Twitter. Bucknell Women’s Basketball is also on Facebook.

For up-to-date information, videos and more for all of Bucknell’s teams, don’t forget @BisonSports on Twitter, facebook.com/BuckyBison and youtube.com/BucknellAthletics.

Following the meeting at Towson, Bucknell will take on St. Peter’s on Saturday, Dec. 22 with tip off in Jersey City, N.J., set for 5 p.m. The Bison are just 1-3 all-time against the Peacocks, but that lone win came last November, 46-35.