The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 6, 2014

Women's basketball: Bucknell loses in Patriot League quarterfinals to Holy Cross

LEWISBURG — In winning two games over Holy Cross during the regular season, Bucknell saw very little of the Crusaders’ zone defense. Unfortunately for the Bison, they saw a lot of it in Thursday’s Patriot League quarterfinal at Sojka Pavilion.

Holy Cross packed in its 2-3 zone and frustrated Bucknell most of the night. The Crusaders also shot 55 percent from the floor as they romped to a 79-66 victory.

“I could just feel it tonight,” Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons said. “I told my assistants (before the game) ... that we’re going to play well.”

Bucknell, seeded fourth in the tournament, ends its season at 16-13. The Bison beat Holy Cross twice in the regular season by a combined seven points, but they were forced to play catch-up for much of the night Thursday. The fifth-seeded Crusaders (19-11) — who will face Navy in the semifinals Monday — led by three at halftime and never trailed after the break.

Facing Holy Cross’ 2-3 zone, Bucknell tried to crack it open by hitting threes. But the Bison were just 3-for-15 from beyond the arc for the night, with two of those treys coming late — well after the Crusaders had taken a double-digit lead.

“They didn’t play (zone) much the first two games,” Bucknell coach Aaron Roussell said. “We couldn’t get anything (deep) to fall in the first half. (The Crusaders) licked their chops a little bit and said, ‘Hey we’ve got to make them beat us from the outside.’”

Junior forward Audrey Dotson kept the Bison alive in the first half, when she scored 10 of her team-high 16 points. But she didn’t make a field goal for the final 17 minutes of the game.

“I think the zone neutralizes her,” Gibbons said. “We went from one defense to another, and kept her off balance.”

“Sometimes the ball just kind of froze for us in the second half,” Roussell said. “You tell the team that you want post-ups. ... We didn’t move as well, and the ball didn’t move around as well.”

Holy Cross sophomore Raquel Scott broke out of her mini slump against Bucknell in a big way. The forward from Ridgewood, N.J., found herself in foul trouble in each of the teams’ regular-season meetings. But she had game-highs in points (27) and rebounds (11) Thursday night. She shot 13-for-21 from the field.

“Scott steps out and starts hitting 18-, 19-footers,” Roussell said. “I hope that was a tonight thing and not a next two years thing.”

Dotson scored on Bucknell’s first possession of the second half to get the Bison within one, but Holy Cross expanded its lead to 10 on a jumper by Scott at the 14:37 mark. The Bison would cut the deficit down to six, but the Crusaders got the advantage back to 10 moments later when senior guard Alex Smith found Scott for a layup.

“It was kind of an ocean out there for (Scott),” said Smith, who had 13 points and 12 assists. “Her jumpers were falling — inside, outside.”

In addition to Dotson, three other Bison were in double figures. Claire DeBoer — the Patriot League Rookie of the Year — and reserve Claire Maree O’Bryan each scored 13. Shelby Romine, the lone senior on Bucknell’s roster, tallied 10. Roussell brought her out of the game in the final minute to a standing ovation from the home fans.

“It’s a blessing to coach a kid like (Romine),” Roussell said. “This kid’s got a bright future with a basketball in her hands.”

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