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Mark Seliger Photography

Smith's Buzzer-Beater Lifts Women's Basketball Over Bucknell

Holy Cross Athletics   02-23-2019
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Bucknell 16 15 12 17 60
Holy Cross 18 12 15 16 61

WORCESTER, Mass. – A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by junior Madalyn Smith helped lift the Holy Cross women’s basketball team over conference-leading Bucknell on Saturday, February 23 at the Hart Center.

The 61-60 Senior Day victory for Holy Cross snapped a 12-game winning streak for the Bison. The Crusaders improved to 16-10 overall, their winningest season since 2013-14, and to a 7-6 mark in Patriot League play. Bucknell falls to 22-5 overall and 13-2 in conference play.

In total, Smith had eight points and four assists in the contest. Freshman Avery LaBarbera led the team with 16 points and a pair of assists; junior Lauren Manis added in 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior Megan Swords was in double figures with 11 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Madison Demski chipped in three 3-pointers for nine total points and five boards.

The Crusaders led by five points, 52-47, with 6:10 to go in the fourth quarter; Bucknell responded with a 7-0 run over the course of a minute-and-a-half to gain a two-point lead. LaBarbera drained a three to end the Holy Cross drought and regain the lead, 55-54, with 3:34 left. The Crusaders lingered in the lead until Kaitlyn Slagus knotted things up at 58-58 after a pair of free throws with 41 seconds remaining.

Bucknell took the lead with three seconds left after Taylor O’Brien drove in for a layup, giving the Bison a 60-58 advantage. Holy Cross had an inbound play on the other end and, with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock, Smith drained a three to give the Crusaders the victory.

Early in the contest, Bucknell appeared to have control, leading 16-8 with 4:48 left in the first. But the Crusaders countered with a 17-0 run over the course of the next nine minutes, capped by a three from Demski. After that run, Bucknell got seven of the next eight points to gain a 27-26 lead. Holy Cross went back up by three, but Ally Johnson hit a three for Bucknell to tie it with 36 seconds left. As time expired, a foul led to a free-throw opportunity for Bucknell’s Marly Walls, who made one of two to give the Bison a 31-30 lead at the half.

The Crusaders went on a 13-5 run to open the third and take a seven-point lead with 5:39 left in the quarter. The Bison cut within two, 45-43, as O’Brien hit a free throw with two seconds remaining; Bucknell tied the game at 45-45 before the Holy Cross outscored the Bison 7-2 over the next three minutes.

Kyi English had 13 points to lead Bucknell, while Kate Walker had 10 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Ellie Mack added in nine points and nine rebounds.

Holy Cross will host American at the Hart Center on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on NESNplus beginning at 6 p.m.


  • Holy Cross improves to 11-2 at the Hart Center this season.
  • On her Senior Day, center Miranda Nixon made her first career start, playing six minutes and securing three rebounds. She was recognized in a pregame ceremony, along with fellow captain and forward Maggie Locke and team manager Kat Middlebrook.
  • The Crusaders have won five of their last six contests; four of those victories have come by three points or fewer.

Season and single-game tickets to see the Crusaders are on sale now. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to see the best collegiate basketball in Central Massachusetts! Tickets for Holy Cross basketball can be purchased online at GoHolyCross.com/tickets or over the phone by calling 1-844-GOCROSS.



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