Lehigh hangs tough before falling at St. Joseph's
Posted: November 16, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - The Mountain Hawks faced their first road test of the 2008-09 campaign Sunday when they traveled to Philadelphia University to take on the St. Joseph’s Hawks. Lehigh was able to erase a 10-point halftime deficit to pull even in the second half, but St. Joseph’s pulled away in the final minutes to deliver a 71-63 defeat to the Brown and White. With the loss, the Mountain Hawks fall to 1-1 on the season, while St. Joseph’s moves to 1-1 as well.
“I think they showed a lot of character coming back to tie up the game,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said afterwards. “We really wanted them to chip away, take it possession by possession, but they just ran out of gas a little bit. And I think we just didn’t execute well on a couple possessions down the stretch too.”
Sophomore guard Erica Prosser led the way for the Mountain Hawks, scoring a career-high 20 points and adding a team-high three assists in the game. Prosser connected on two three-point attempts and went 7-for-15 from the field on the day. Junior guard Kristen Dalton came off the bench to score 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting to give Lehigh a spark.
When these teams met last year on opening night in Stabler Arena, it was the Mountain Hawks who took a 10-point lead into the locker room at halftime before watching it slip away. This time, St. Joseph’s held the 10-point advantage at the break before the Mountain Hawks pulled back to even.
A 25-15 run by the Mountain Hawks in the second half pulled them to a 53-53 tie, but St. Joseph’s was able to regain the lead on some clutch three-point shooting to pull away for the victory. With a one-point lead and 2:52 remaining, Ashley Logue teed up for a key deep ball to give the Hawks the 62-58 lead. Then it was Mary Kate McDade who took the role of hero and hit a three-ball that gave the Hawks a seven point lead with 1:10 remaining to put the game away.
“We knew coming into it they were a quality opponent and we had to play well,” Troyan said. “I thought we fought back hard during the second half, but we really probably lost the game in the first half.”
Brittany Ford led the way for the Hawks, putting up 19 points and seven rebounds in the game. She was joined by Logue and McDade as the three Hawks in double figures, as each scored 14 points on the afternoon.
Both teams put on a shooting exhibition in the first half. The Mountain Hawks were making all the high percentage shots, going 11-for-25 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Not to be outdone, St. Joseph’s connected at an even better rate, knocking down 14 of its 28 shots and even hitting on five of 11 attempts from behind the three-point line in the period.
Lehigh received a big boost in the first half from Dalton, who came off the bench to put in 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. Dalton did everything from shooting jumpers to driving the lane for tough layups. Erica Prosser also found some success from the floor in the first period, scoring four points by using her quickness to drive to the basket for layups, but the sophomore point guard could not stay on the floor long with three fouls in the first half.
The Mountain Hawks fell behind early in the first half, allowing St. Joseph’s to jump out to a 15-9 lead by the first media timeout. But Lehigh came out of the break roaring with tough defense and a more efficient offensive attack, led by Dalton’s spark off the bench. The Mountain Hawks clamped down on the Hawks’ not allowing them to score a point for more than five minutes and going on an 8-0 run that put the Brown and White on top 17-15 with just more than eight minutes remaining in the half.
But the Hawks answered with a run of their own, scoring 13 unanswered points to make the score 31-18 with just more than four minutes left. Lehigh was only able to slightly chip into the lead entering the break, cutting the deficit to 38-28 at halftime.
The Mountain Hawks came out just as hot to start the second half, going on a 12-4 run to open play after the break. After struggling from deep in the first half (1-for-6 from behind the arc), Lehigh came out firing in the second and Erica Prosser and Alex Ross connected for triples in the run to pull Lehigh within two points at 42-40 five minutes into the half.
Lehigh did not go quietly in the second period even as the Hawks tried to pull away. Both teams traded baskets and sloppy shooting for a long stretch, as 2:49 ticked away without a score by either squad. Trailing by three points with 4:15 remaining, Tricia Smith took the game in her own hands and drove to the basket, absorbed the foul and made the layup. The made free throw tied the score at 58-58, but Lehigh would not be able to capture the lead for the rest of the contest.
“This is what the preseason is about,” Troyan said. “Preparing us for what we know is going to be a really competitive league race. This is a quality team that will finish high up in the Atlantic 10. It’s great to compete against that, but we don’t just want to compete, we want to win too.”
Lehigh returns to action for part two of a four-game road trip when the Mountain Hawks head to Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Buzzer beaters: The Hawks will play 10 games at the Gallagher Center this season while Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse undergoes an expansion and renovation project throughout the season … St. Joseph’s will also host games at The Palestra in Philadelphia and the Daskalakis Center at Drexel University’s campus … Alex Ross and Erica Prosser connected for five three-pointers in the afternoon, the only Mountain Hawks to score from downtown.