Posted: November 19, 2008
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Lehigh used a 59-point first half to put Fairleigh Dickinson away early on Wednesday night, en route to a 90-54 victory at Stratis Arena in the Rothman Center. The 36-point margin of victory was the most for a Mountain Hawks team since the 1982-83 season when Lehigh defeated Kutztown by 39 points, 86-47.
Tricia Smith fell one point shy of a double-double, with nine points, but the senior guard set a new career high with 13 rebounds in the game. Erica Prosser led all scorers with a 17-point effort, adding four rebounds and six assists.
“Erica’s definitely going to be one of the top players in the league,” Smith said. “She comes out every night and she’s amazing to watch and it’s fun to play with her.”
Three Mountain Hawks scored in double figures, with Kristen Dalton and Alexa Williams joining Prosser with 10 and 12 points, respectively. For the freshman Williams, the 12 points break her career high of nine points in Lehigh’s first game against Penn.
The Mountain Hawks went on a tear in the first half, executing in every facet of the game. Lehigh opened up a 37-point lead at halftime off the strength of good defense and smart shots, with 38 of the team’s 59 points coming in the paint. When the Mountain Hawks weren’t putting it in from up close, they were draining shots from long range, with a 5-for-10 clip from behind the arc in the period.
Overall, the Mountain Hawks shot 64.1 percent from the floor in the first half, using a 24-0 run to extend the advantage to 39-9 with just less than seven minutes remaining in the half. During the run, the Brown and White limited the Knights’ opportunities, holding the home team scoreless for 7:13 while the lead continued to grow.
“It was awesome," Smith said of the run. "We kind of didn’t really start too well the first two games, so we wanted to make a statement in this game. We got out and started running and just never looked back.”
Lehigh held the Knights to 28.1 percent from the floor (9-for-32), and forced FDU into 10 turnovers in the first half. The Mountain Hawks also held a massive rebounding advantage going into the break, pulling in 29 boards to just 10 for the Knights. Christy Altamirano led all Fairleigh Dickinson scorers with 13 points in the loss.
The 59-point halftime total gave Lehigh more points in 20 minutes than the Mountain Hawks had scored in a full 22 games in the 2007-08 campaign.
By the end of the game, the Mountain Hawks field goal percentage still held at an impressive 56.3 percent, with a 68.8 percent rate from behind the arc (11-for-16).
Troyan again used the big advantage to get her less-experienced players some valuable time on the court. All 12 Mountain Hawks who dressed for the game saw playing time, with 11 playing double-digit minutes. Eight players scored at least eight points in the game, including freshman Emily Gratch who scored a career high eight points in her second appearance in a Lehigh uniform. Sophomore Kristen Iafolla also set a career high with six points on 2-for-3 from behind the arc.
Senior guard Claire Sullivan was one of just two players to not register a point, but the co-captain contributed in many ways Wednesday night, racking up a team-high seven assists to go along with six rebounds and four steals.
The Mountain Hawks return to action for part three of a four-game road trip when they travel to Loretto, Pa. for a matchup with the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash.
Buzzer beaters: Wednesday night’s game was the third meeting between Fairleigh Dickinson and Lehigh in all sports this year. The men’s and women’s soccer teams each met the Knights in September, with the men dropping a 3-2 thriller at the Ulrich Sports Complex and the women exacting their revenge with a 1-0 victory later in the month…Wednesday night was also the first of three-consecutive meetings between the Mountain Hawks and schools from the Northeast Conference, as Lehigh will travel to St. Francis (Pa.) and Sacred Heart in its next two games.