Gray's Free Throws Seal WBB's Road Win At Preseason Favorite Bucknell
Sophomore Alexis Gray converted six free throws in the final 20 seconds of Wednesday night's game to help the Loyola University Maryland women's basketball team hold off preseason Patriot League favorite Bucknell and snap the Bison's 25-game win streak at home against League opponents with a 68-65 victory.
Bucknell's last loss to a Patriot League foe in Sojka Pavillion was on January 30, 2016, when it fell to Army West Point, 68-63.
Gray finished the game with a team-best 17 points, while sophomore Stephanie Karcz turned in her seventh double-double of the season - and her fifth in the last six games - finishing with 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Karcz also added a personal-best eight assists, while freshman Isabella Therien contributed 16 points for Loyola (4-14 overall, 2-5 Patriot League).
Bucknell's Kyi Walker led all players with 19 points.
The Bison (10-8, 4-3) earned an early 15-4 advantage, but junior Ashley Hunter's and-1 conversion brought Loyola within four, before sophomore Molly Taylor's trey and Karcz's free throw brought the score to an even 15-15 with just under one minute to play in the first quarter. A Bison layup gave Bucknell a two-point advantage, 17-15, when time expired though.
Karcz knotted the score at 17 on the first possession of the second quarter, but Bucknell connected from long range to earn a three-point advantage, at 20-17. Karcz and Therien's layups reversed the lead back to Loyola, 21-20, but the Bison knocked down another 3-pointer to move ahead 23-21.
Therien's jumper tied it again at 23, but Loyola would be unable to move in front, as the Bison connected from long range for a 26-23 advantage. Junior Abby Omdahl's pull-up jumper after Karcz's layup saw the Greyhounds take the lead, 27-26, but the score switched back to the home team on the Bison's three-point play, putting Bucknell up 29-27 with 50 seconds left in the half.
Bucknell earned an advantage again after Karcz knotted the score for a fifth time, at 29-29, but Omdahl's 3-pointer sent Loyola into halftime with a 32-30 advantage.
The Bison strung together a 9-0 run out of the break to pull ahead seven, at 39-32. The Greyhounds stormed back though, putting together 11-straight points to take a 43-39 lead at the 5:22 mark. Loyola would continue to work its lead to nine, on Therien's 3-pointer at 1:54, and eventually hold a 10-point cushion, 53-43, heading into the final quarter.
Therien's layup at the 9:41 mark of the fourth would give the Greyhounds a 12-point lead, its largest of the night, at 55-43, but Bucknell managed to cut Loyola's advantage to one, at 62-61, with 35 seconds to go. Gray sunk a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining to momentarily hold off the Bison, but Ellie Mack's free throws pulled Bucknell within one again, with 12 seconds to play. Two more points from Gray at the charity stripe regained Loyola's three-point advantage, 66-63, before Kyi English converted a pair of free throws to get the Bison within one for a third time, with six seconds to go. Gray's final two free throws with five seconds left sealed Loyola's victory.
For the game, there were six tied scores and nine lead changes.
The Greyhounds will return home on Sunday to host Colgate at noon.