The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 13, 2008

Bison had the spirit of ’02

WORCESTER, Mass. — Coaches look for patterns in every matchup. Something to draw upon for inspiration or direction.

Bucknell’s Kathy Fedorjaka didn’t have to look far to find a connection for her team leading into Wednesday night’s Patriot League championship game at Holy Cross.

Those similarities probably had nothing to do with the results — a 57-45 victory and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament — but it’s fun making the comparisons.

The 2002 Bison team, which won the program’s first tournament title, had five seniors.

Ditto for the 2008 squad.

The 2002 club had lost in the first round of the previous year’s tournament to Colgate at Navy’s Alumni Hall.

Ditto for 2008.

In 2002, the Bison had lost both regular-season meetings to the Crusaders.

Ditto for 2008.

The 2002 team had the league’s all-time greatest player — junior Molly Creamer, who often willed her team to victory with her unbelievable basketball skills.

This year’s club has been anchored by one the program’s most driven players — senior Kesha Champion, who comes out of games only when she’s in foul trouble and has played in all 119 games during her four-year career.

Champion played all but the final 15 seconds Wednesday, a day after a stomach virus had her being carted around to and from the team hotel and unable to practice.

“I feel better now,” she said in typical low-key fashion.

Champion led a 17-2 burst late in the first half that had the host Crusaders feeling blue and in desperation mode for much of the second half.

Holy Cross got as close as seven points (43-36) after a 10-0 run, but Champion and Co. responded with the heart of champions.

Champion, who earlier scored her 1,000th career point, had a fast-break basket in a 7-0 run to answer the Crusaders’ best shot and later made two free throws in the final moments to secure the program’s second title.

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