Falcons drop season opener to Bucknell University

Tara Jones and Tara Jones

It all came down to a shot senior Deborah Hoekstra made thousands of times this summer.

The play before, Hoekstra, who was 3-for-4 from behind the arc at this point, let a triple fly that was good, but got waved off due to a traveling call. Hoekstra would get a second chance at the same shot, but it bounced off the rim with four seconds left, giving Bucknell the 53-52 win Friday night.

“It was a great look,” Hoekstra said. “I’ve practiced that shot probably 20,000 times just last summer, but it just wasn’t meant to be this game.”

Having just made the previous shot that was waved off, head coach Jennifer Roos said her team all knew the plan for the last-second attempt.

“That group knew what we were going to run, we were all on the same page. They nodded to me and were like ‘Yeah, let’s go for it,’ especially Deborah,” Roos said. “She’s going to knock that down more times than not. She wanted that shot. I wanted to give her that shot.”

Senior Jasmine Matthews had a look under the basket to go for two or a chance at the free throw line, but Roos wanted to take the three and not give Bucknell a chance with the clock dwindling.

“With the way the game was being called, had we thrown the ball anywhere else I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to get the call to get to the foul line or be able to get a quick score,” Roos said. “The way they were scoring at the end, I really wanted the last shot more than anything else.”

Though Hoekstra may have had a hot hand for the Falcons, the same cannot be said for the team. The Falcons shot just 29.6 percent from the floor and 23.1 percent from behind the arc. Bucknell faced much of the same shooting woes, going just 39.2 percent and 28.6 percent.

Combining the shooting troubles, turnovers and foul trouble, the Falcons had too much to overcome.

“When you get limited touches and they’re scoring off of your turnovers at the other end, it’s just a bad combination,” Roos said. “I thought we were a little bit more conservative in the second half on what we ran, which actually didn’t help us a ton because then we settled into just shooting the three every possession down.”

The Falcons looked to playing more of an inside-out game, Hoekstra said, but redshirt junior Erica Donovan picked up her third foul at the 18:09 mark of the second half and spent much of the game on the sidelines.

“Erica is our go-to girl,” Hoekstra said. “She makes things happen, so not having her in there, it effected more than just scoring.”

Donovan, along with Matthews, was scoreless against Bucknell.

“Tonight we were only able to get scoring from a few kids and that’s going to hurt,” Roos said. “It’s a no-brainer statement, but the fewer kids that score, the fewer points that you’re going to get.”

Though the Falcons have to improve on both ends of the floor, the team will have to work on its offense to gear up for their next game on Nov. 18 against Iona.

“We will have to get back to the drawing board a little bit and figure out how we can have a better balance between attacking outside and attacking inside,” Roos said.