GUAYNABO, P.R. — Bucknell outscored Cincinnati by eight in the fourth quarter to grab a 56-48 women’s basketball victory in the final game of the Puerto Rico Clasico on Thursday.
The Bison (4-3) limited the Bearcats to 1-of-14 from 3-point range, and collected their first win over an American Athletic Conference opponent in program history.
Bucknell was led by a 13-point effort from Abby Kapp, who made three 3-pointers. Ally Johnson also reached double-figures with 11 points. Ellie Mack hauled in a season-high 12 rebounds.
The Bearcats led the majority of the first half, but Bucknell took a 30-29 lead into halftime. Bucknell then limited Cincinnati (3-4) to 23.8 percent shooting in the second half and just four points over the last 6:34 of the game.
“We’re starting to build an identity, which is a very difficult thing to do,” Bucknell coach Trevor Woodruff said. “We’re trying to build it on toughness, being smart, and being together. TST is what we talk about, and so for us, that’s what it’s all about.”
The first quarter remained close through much of its duration, but Cincinnati went on a 10-2 run to lead 18-12 after the first 10 minutes. Cincinnati shot 9-of-14 (64.3%) in the first, while Bucknell shot 30 percent.
The Bearcat run was halted by five straight points by Tessa Brugler. With 6:30 left in the second quarter, Kapp hit back-to-back 3s that sparked an 11-4 Bucknell run and gave the Bison their first lead of the quarter.
The Bison also began to step up on defense in the second quarter, cutting the Bearcats’ shooting percentage in half. After allowing Cincinnati to score 14 points in the paint in the first quarter, Bucknell gave up just four in the second.
Kapp scored the first five points in the third quarter, including her third 3-pointer of the game. However, Cincinnati regained momentum and the lead with five made field goals and five points at the free-throw line. At that point, Johnson got hot and hit two 3-pointers to even the score at 43 apiece heading into the fourth.
With six minutes to go in the final quarter, Johnson hit her third 3-pointer to give the Bison a 51-44 lead. Bucknell made just one more field goal in the game, Cincinnati struggled to a 2-of-14 quarter and missed three of its four fourth quarter free-throw attempts, resulting in the 56-48 Bucknell win.
“I thought we played pretty good defense through four straight halves down here, and the key is to make sure we put it in our bags when we get out of here and take it with us,” said Woodruff.
Marly Walls led the team with five assists and contributed eight points. Mack provided a pair of assists and two blocks. Taylor O’Brien scored seven points and grabbed six boards.