The AU women’s basketball team lost 54-66 in the Patriot League championship to the Bucknell Bison on Sunday, losing the chance to appear in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
This was the team’s second straight Patriot League championship appearance, having won last year and advancing to the NCAA Tournament before losing to UCLA in the first round.
The first-seeded Bisons began the game by topping the Eagles 0-7 after six minutes of playing time. This became the theme of the game, as AU would continue to come back enough for fans to gain hope, but never come close enough.
By the end of the second quarter, the Eagles tied Bucknell 23-23, which they kept for only a minute before the Bisons finished the first half 27-24.
Senior forward Cecily Carl led the team in points with 16, while senior guard Elina Koskimies led in rebounds (6) and senior guard Kaitlyn Lewis led in assists (4). Carl was last year’s tournament MVP and broke personal records this season, earning herself the title of the Patriot League Player of the Year.
The Eagles had their only lead of the game – 24-23 – when freshman guard Jade Edwards made a free throw before the halftime break.
With 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Bison took a 10-point lead and brought home the win, ending a continually neck-in-neck game with a home-game celebration.
The team has an automatic berth in the WNIT tournament. The bracket will be released Sunday after the NCAA Selection Show, and the first round will begin on Wednesday, March 20.