Lehigh women’s basketball fell to Bucknell 76-64 Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion in the opening game of a crucial weekend series. The Mountain Hawks are 6-3, with all of their losses coming from the Bison.
Bucknell led the game wire to wire by capitalizing on Lehigh’s first-half turnovers and controlling the paint.
The Bison came out strong, playing through Taylor O’Brien and Tessa Brugler, two of the league’s best players. O’Brien led both teams with 19 points, while Brugler followed with 13.
After back-to-back contested three-point shots from freshman guard Mackenzie Kramer and senior forward Mary Clougherty, Lehigh cut the lead down to 18-15 at the end of the first quarter.
The Mountain Hawks played an uncharacteristically sloppy second quarter, turning it over nine times and allowing Bucknell to stretch their lead to 11 points.
Behind Clair Steele’s terrific second quarter, Lehigh battled back into the game. Steele found success slashing to the rim and finishing through contact.
The Mountain Hawks ended the half on a scoring run, trimming the Bucknell lead to 37-31 at halftime.
The two best teams in the Patriot League traded punches in the third quarter, with both teams executing at a very high level. Junior guard Megan Walker and junior forward Emma Grotahus both hit key three-point shots to keep pace with the Bisons red-hot offense.
Lehigh refused to fall too far behind, closing the third quarter on a 5-0 run after Steele hit a three-pointer and two free throws. After three-quarters, Bucknell led 56-49.
In the fourth quarter, Bucknell pulled away to capture their seventh straight victory.
Grothaus led Lehigh in scoring, finishing the game with 16 points, while Steele had 13 and Kramer finished with 10.
Lehigh looks to rebound tomorrow afternoon and catch their first win of the series when they complete the two-game series, playing Bucknell at Stabler Arena at 4 p.m.