Bucknell wins thrilling overtime battle with Navy to claim 2017 Patriot League Championship crown - Mar 14, 2017
It was a battle for the ages, as No. 1 Bucknell pulled out a thrilling 79-71 overtime victory against No. 2 Navy on Sunday at Sojka Pavilion to claim the 2017 Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship. The overtime barn burner was just the second championship game in Patriot League women's basketball history to need extra time to determine a champion. The first was in 1997 when No. 3 Lehigh defeated No. 5 Lafayette at Stabler Arena on March 6, 65-63. Bucknell's win marks the seventh time in Patriot League history that an institution won both the men and women's tournament championship titles in the same season and first since Lehigh accomplished the feat in 2010. Shots from downtown were a large part of the game's story line, as the Midshipmen shot a blistering 14-of-28 from long range. The Bison drained eight of their own and the two teams combined for 22 made from beyond the arc, setting a new Patriot League tournament record for most three-point field goals made by two teams in a game. Navy started hot out of the gate, jumping out to a 10-0 lead that was capped off by a triple from junior Taylor Dunham (5'4''-G). The Mids took an 11-point lead on a trey from senior Sarita Condie (5'7''-G), 15-4, but the Bison slowly chipped their way out of the hole to make it a three-point deficit by the end of the first 10 minutes, 19-16. A basket from beyond the arc by Bucknell sophomore Kate Walker (6'0''-G) tied the game at 19, and a layup from senior Sune Swart (6'3''-F-95) gave the home team their first lead of the game, 21-19. She added an and-one but Navy freshman Kaila Clark sunk a three to knot the game back up. After trading baskets, the Mids took a six-point lead with sophomore Bianca Roach (5'7''-G)'s triple but Bucknell senior Claire DeBoer (6'1''-F-95) made a pair at the line to cut the Bison's deficit to four at the break, 37-33. DeBoer continued the momentum, opening the second half with five points from a jumper and a three-point field goal, to put the lead back in Bucknell's favor, 38-37. Dunham drained her second trey of the game to change the lead once again. The lead changed hands one more time midway through the frame as a foul by Dunham sent DeBoer to the line, where the senior sank both. The Bison took at 54-50 lead into the final frame. Once again, DeBoer opened the scoring for Bucknell with five points - a jumper and a trey - to give the Bison a seven-point lead, 59-52. Navy cut Bucknell's lead down to one and tied the game two more times before tying it a third time on a triple from senior Ashanti Kennedy with nine seconds remaining and to ultimately send the game to overtime. A 7-2 run to begin the extra frame by the Bison was enough cushion they needed before making three free throws to close out the 79-71 victory. DeBoer, tournament MVP, was one point shy from tying the Patriot League tournament record of most points scored in a championship game with 30. She went 9-of-14 from the field, including a 5-of-6 mark from three-point range. She also hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds. Swart added 15 points and tied the Patriot League tournament record of most blocks in a championship game with five. She also grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore Kate Walker (6'0''-G) came off the bench and contributed 14 points, making 6-of-8 from the field including a pair of three-point field goals. As a team, Navy finished with 14 three-point field goals, which was one shy of matching the Patriot League tournament record of three-pointers made in a game by a single team. With the 14 triples, the Mids finished with 26 three-point field goals in the tournament this year by one team, setting a new Patriot League tournament record. Condie led the way, making 4-of-5 from long range to finish with 16 points. Dunham was right behind with 14 points and a trio of treys. In total, the lead changed on seven different occasions and the score was tied nine different times. Bucknell is the Patriot League's automatic berth in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament and will await their opponent, which will be announced during the selection show on Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m. on ESPN. While Navy won't be competing in the big dance, the Mids will have a chance to make a postseason run in the WNIT. Patriot League Tournament Final: Bucknell - Navy 79-71, OT Patriot League Tournament Semifinals: Bucknell - American 69-57 Navy - Army West Point 54-53
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