Bucknell used a 35-point second half to upset the AU women’s basketball team March 7 in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament, 46-43.
Alexis Dobbs’s game-tying 3-pointer at the final buzzer hit the side of the rim as the Eagles could not complete the comeback and suffered its first quarterfinals exit since the 2008-09 season.
“That’s just maturity,” Head Coach Matt Corkery said. “We took a lot of possessions for granted and we have no one else to blame but ourselves really not having that type of energy and focus to win those types of games. I felt like we didn’t have the same type of energy and intensity coming out.”
AU (15-14, 8-7 PL) took an early advantage at the tip and jumped on a 16-4 lead in the first half off an 11-0 run until Audrey Dotson ended the Bison’s nearly nine-minute scoring drought.
The Eagles’ full-court press kept on the defensive pressure forcing 14 first-half turnovers and eight steals. AU held Bucknell under double-digit points until Dotson hit a 3-point with 1:49 left, putting the Bison within 10 points, trailing AU 21-11 at the half. AU held a 35 to 20 percent advantage in shooting.
Bucknell (15-15, 6-9 PL) saw the double-digit deficit and the poor shooting diminish quickly in the second half. Dotson and Alyssa Dunn combined to score nine of the 16 points en route to a 16-2 scoring run to take a 27-23 lead with 13:28 remaining.
“Have to give them a lot of credit. We were being attacked, and we didn’t do much attacking, and that’s the result,” Corkery said. “I felt like they played with a sense of urgency, and we didn’t. They played like their season was on the line.”
Senior Stephanie Anya finally stopped the run scoring eight of her 10 points for the Eagles’ next four baskets to cut the AU deficit to 32-29, with 9:58 to play.
The Eagles and Bison traded baskets until Arron Zimmerman, who scored a team-high 11 points, hit her third 3-pointer with 1:47 left to bring AU within one, 39-38.
Bucknell’s Felicia Mgbada and Shelby Romine responded on the next two possession to stretch the lead back to five, until Dobbs hit a three to bring the Eagles back within one with seven seconds left.
Dotson was fouled on the inbound and hit both free throws to make it 46-43 with 2.7 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing inbounds, Dumiak’s half-court pass found Sarah Kiely at center court. Kiley dished it to Dobbs, who’s game-tying shot just missed as the Bison pulled off the 46-43 upset.
This loss gives the relatively young Eagles their sixth loss in nine games to close out the season.
“This season has been a learning experience,” Corkery said. “We’ve got a lot of tough lessons to learn, and this is one more we add to the list.”