Women’s basketball wins thriller to advance to Patriot League semifinals

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Michael Caruso, Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team knocked off eighth-seed Loyola (Md.) in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Championship on March 6 by a final score of 75-72. Sune Swart ’17 led the scoring for the Orange and Blue with 20 points, while Kaitlyn Slagus ’19 knocked down two clutch free throws with 3.9 seconds left to seal the game for the Bison. This was the team’s 26th consecutive home win.

There was no shortage of scoring from either side as the game commenced, proving early that the game had the potential to come down to the final seconds. Kyi English ’19 came out aggressive for the Orange and Blue, attacking the lane early to get herself a couple of layups. Loyola led the Bison 18-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bison started to look more comfortable going into the second quarter, going on a 15-4 run to take the 34-31 lead into halftime. Swart and Claire DeBoer ’17 led the team with seven first-half points each. Swart found gaps in the Loyola defense all game, taking advantage of opportunities on the offensive end.

“Defensively, Loyola was trying to crowd the paint as much as they could, but I knew they weren’t all-out-doubling so I could still make my move and get to the basket,” Swart said.  “If they were to double, I would have had great shooters on the perimeter to kick it out to.”

The contest was back and forth all throughout the second half, but the Bison kept their composure in the waning minutes. Swart knocked down a pivotal corner three with 2:51 minutes to play, putting the Bison up by three. With one minute remaining and a one-point lead, the Orange and Blue had possession. Slagus got fouled and nailed both free throws to give the Bison a three-point cushion.   

“Everything was going through my mind. When I was stepping up to the line, my teammates were saying things like ‘you got this’ and ‘just like practice.’  Hearing how confident they were gave me more confidence in myself,” Slagus said.

With just under four seconds remaining, the Greyhounds had possession in hopes of nailing a buzzer-beater three. However, a solid defensive effort from the Orange and Blue, complete with a game-winning block by DeBoer, terminated any hope Loyola had of forcing overtime.

The Orange and Blue put up stellar numbers across the board in the game, shooting over 59 percent from the field, scoring 29 out of 49 field goals and 16 total assists. Bench production was also a key contributor in the win. The Bison outscored the Greyhounds 16 to 0 in bench points, led by Gia Hayes ’20, who had seven points in just five minutes, and Catherine Romaine ’18, who scored six points in eight minutes.

The Bison continue their postseason run as they host American University on March 10 at Sojka Pavilion, looking to earn a spot in the league championship game on March 12.

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