Week one of conference play went as expected but with a few surprises
Patriot League play began with the favorites winning nine of ten matchups. Lafayette’s 59-57 win over Boston University was the lone upset of the week. The Leopards were picked to finish ninth in the pre-season poll but upended the Terriers on a buzzer-beating jumper by sophomore guard Nicole Johnson. BU is picked to finish fourth.
The league’s top three teams each opened with two-game sweeps while most of the pack had its ups and downs. Navy, Army, and Loyola (MD) each dropped both their games. The surprise: the shorthanded Greyhounds of Loyola hosted the top two projected teams—and current league leaders in Holy Cross and Lehigh—and gave each of them some trouble, including a buzzer-beater finish versus the Mountain Hawks.
Bucknell, also atop the early standings, cruised through the opening contests. The Bison are developing their depth and have been consistent in improving week-to-week. Colgate missed a great chance in a tough loss to American, 63-61, but it may prove to be a valuable early learning experience for a team with big aspirations. The Raiders bounced back with an offensive explosion—a 100-93 win over Army—and set a record for the most combined points scored in a half in Patriot League history.
Top five takeaways from the week:
Bucknell’s defense is going to frustrate teams. The Bison are second in the league allowing just 57.6 points per game on the season. They have won seven out of their last eight games and have allowed just 52.5 ppg during that stretch. In the opening week of league play, Bucknell held Army and Lafayette to 52 and 36 points, respectively.
Holy Cross struggles with full-court pressure. The Crusaders committed 24 turnovers against the injury-plagued Greyhounds but hung on to win, 64-56. Loyola’s full-court pressure and traps forced numerous bad passes. Holy Cross has committed 41 more turnovers than their opponents this season. They have talented guards but ball-control is an issue for the team.
Loyola (MD) senior Stephanie Karcz is the best in the nation. Karcz can find her way into a passing lane. Her ability to anticipate has helped make her tops in the nation with 6.3 steals per game. She posted seven steals in her team’s Patriot League opener against Holy Cross.
Lehigh’s perimeter woes continue. The Mountain Hawks’ impressive defense and depth have led the pre-season favorites to the best overall record in the league at 10-3. But their challenges from the perimeter–against zone defense in particular—remain a concern. Lehigh shot 3-for-20 from three-point distance in its match-up on the road against Loyola (MD). Senior Cameryn Benz hit a 15-foot shot with 1.5 seconds remaining to help Lehigh escape with a heart-pounding 55-53 win.
Colgate’s offense is clicking. The Raiders lead the conference with 71.5 points per game, a 44.0% shooting rate from the field, and 17.3 assists an outing. Their first league win came via a 100-93 performance over Army. Colgate set a program record for field goal percentage, converting an incredible 63.3% from the floor in the contest–including 73.1% in the second half. They had five players score in double-figures for the fourth game this season.
Lehigh (10-3, 2-0)
Bucknell (9-4, 2-0)
Holy Cross (9-4, 2-0)
Colgate (9-4, 1-1)
Boston University (6-7, 1-1)
American (5-7, 1-1)
Lafayette (5-7, 1-1)
Navy (5-8, 0-2)
Army (4-9, 0-2)
Loyola (MD) (3-10, 0-2)
Game of the Week:
Bucknell at Holy Cross @12:00p.m. January 11th
Note: This is the first showdown of league favorites and will showcase two contrasting styles of play. Bucknell (9-4) is building around their defense and have won seven out of their last eight games, dropping only an overtime road game to Stony Brook, 78-73. Their defense has been stingy during the run but will be tested by the shooting prowess of the Crusaders (9-4). Holy Cross is tops in the nation for three-point shooting percentage at 43.8% and is second in the Patriot League in scoring per game at 71.3. Expect Bucknell to try to control a slow-down pace as Holy Cross seeks a quicker up-and-down game. Can Bucknell defend the three-point line and slow down the post combination of Lauren Manis and Megan Swords? Will Holy Cross find consistency for four quarters and limit turnovers? Bucknell has more depth and that might be the difference. The last meeting: a 61-60 Holy Cross win at the buzzer on a deep three-pointer from the right wing by Madalyn Smith.
Tune in to Patriot League action this week:
Lafayette at Holy Cross @11:00a.m.
Colgate at Loyola (MD) @11:30a.m.
Boston University at Lehigh @6:00p.m.
Army at American @7:00p.m.
Bucknell at Navy @7:00p.m.
Bucknell at Holy Cross @12:00p.m.
Lehigh at American @1:00p.m.
Navy at Colgate @2:00p.m.
Loyola (MD) at Lafayette @2:00p.m.
Boston University at Army @1:00p.m.
League news and notes:
- Freshmen combined for 40 of Boston University’s 59 points in their 59-44 win over American.
- Holy Cross leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage at 43.8%. The Crusaders have converted 109-of-249 on the season.
- Army freshman guard Hope Brown scored a season-high 23 points in a 100-93 loss to Colgate.
- Ellie Mack led Bucknell in scoring against both Army and Lafayette. She scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in a 63-52 win over Army, and added a game-high 19 points versus the Leopards.
- Kathryn Pedi (16th) and Avery LaBarbera (36th) of Holy Cross are each ranked among the top 50 three-point shooters in the country. Pedi is shooting 46.6% (27-for-58) and LaBarbera is converting 43.2% (35-for-81).
- Senior forward Abby Schubiger set a program record for field goal percentage by converting 10-of-11 shots (90.9%) in Colgate’s win over Army.
- Freshman forward Emily McAteer averaged 11.3 ppg in a three-game week for Loyola (MD).
- Natalie Kucowski led Lafayette to a 59-57 win over Boston University by scoring 23 points and hauling in 23 rebounds. It was her ninth double-double of the season.
- Kucowski leads the nation in rebounding average with 13.8 rpg. Lauren Manis of Holy Cross is fourth at 12.1 rpg.
- Stephanie Karcz of Loyola (MD) narrowly missed a quadruple-double, falling just three assists short of the feat in a 72-56 win over Dartmouth. Karcz had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals, and 7 assists.
- Bucknell leads the league in free throw shooting at 74.9%.
- The 115 combined second-half points by Army and Colgate are the most points scored in a half in Patriot League history.
Patriot League Player of the Week:
Lauren Manis, Holy Cross, Senior Forward
- Manis grabbed her 1,000 career rebound in a 58-49 win over Navy. Manis is averaging 12.1 rpg—good for fourth in the country.
- In three wins last week, Manis averaged a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.
- Manis was 5-for-8 from three-point range. The senior is 18-for-35 (51.5%) on the season from distance to help the Crusaders place as the top shooting team in the country from the three-point line.
- After a 9-for-11 week from the free throw line, Manis is ranked third in the league at 81.0%.
Patriot League Rookie of the Week:
Maggie Pina, Boston University, Freshman Guard
- Scored a season-high 26 points in a 59-57 setback at Lafayette and 12 points in a 59-44 victory over American.
- Pina is scoring 10.7 ppg—the highest average of any freshman–and her 26 made three-pointers are good for sixth in the league.
- Logged 35 minutes in each league game and has started the last six games.
- Pina shot 50.0% from the floor (9-for-18) and three-point range (5-for-10) against the Leopards.
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