Teaneck, NJ - It comes down to simply making plays. Bucknell edged FDU 61-60 in overtime at the Rothman Center. The three points of emphasis from Saturday's contest.
The matchup was not favorable for Bucknell. Actually there were equal concerns as well for the home standing Knights. Bucknell had size inside with the likes of Audrey Dotson (12 points 11 boards) and Claire DeBoer (12 points and a game high 13 rebounds), both 6-1. FDU enjoyed an edge in athleticism. FDU put that asset to advantage utilizing full court pressure. The Knights trailed early and got back in it by forcing Bucknell turnovers and turning them into scoring opportunities. The Bison committed 18 turnovers for a 24% TO rate.
Bucknell did use that size for a 52-41 rebounding edge and OREB percentage advantage of 38-27%. In a one possession extra session matchup, those are crucial numbers.
Points were difficult to come by. Bucknell's offensive efficiency was 80, FDU 77. Normally an 80 on the defensive end will give you a win. Shooting 25% (15 of 60) and 17 turnovers (22% rate) of their own, negated the FDU effort. The Knights would organize the press following a score. Finding field goals and free throws difficult to come by meant there were less chances to use an effective 2-2-1 full court pressure. As much as the Knights struggled offensively, so did the visiting Bison. From the field they barely shot better going 19 of 62 (31%) which included a three point mark of 7% (1 of 15). "FDU mixed up their defense, changing constantly and that was really a factor," Bucknell coach Aaron Roussell said. "We did not shoot well at all but FDU deserves a lot of credit for that."
Overcoming adversity. Bucknell (now 2-1) was playing its third straight game on the road. They visit Youngstown State on Tuesday before finally hosting Cornell Saturday the 29th at home. "We narrowly defeated Bowling Green on their ‘Ring Night',' Roussell said. "Then we went to Michigan (a competitive 68-61 setback) and now here." Against FDU, the Bison led by eight late in the first half. FDU came storming back largely due to their press and had an eight point lead of their own with just under eight minutes remaining. Bucknell forced overtime only to see FDU score the first four points and grab momentum in the extra session. Maintaining poise the Bison of the Patriot League battled back, regained the lead and held on. "We couldn't make layups or hit threes," Roussell said. "But we hung tough and did not panic."
Final Notes: Rousell on the Patriot League: "I do not like to use the word parity but what we have in this conference is a closeness. There are 7 or 8 teams that could be considered to win the league. Look at the standings each week or week and a half and I will be surprised if you do not see noticeable shifts (in team order)."
Kelsey Cruz of (1-2) FDU led all scorers with 16 points. Erika Livermore logged 40 minutes finishing with 11 points on 3 of 13 shooting. "We watched the Manhattan-FDU tape," Roussell said. "In Livermore we saw a relentless rebounder and outstanding inside player. It was a main priority to defense her today.' Mission (and victory) accomplished.