Posted: November 22, 2008
LORETTO, Pa. – Lehigh used another strong first-half performance to run away with the 82-62 win on Saturday night against the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash. The Mountain Hawks set the pace with a 53-28 lead through the first 20 minutes and never looked back for its second road win in a row.
Lehigh moves to 3-1 on the season for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The loss drops St. Francis’ record to 0-3 to start the year.
“I thought the defensive intensity in the first half was real strong,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said. “We came out fast and it really allowed us to get a large lead against them, and we needed it in the second half. “
Alex Ross led the Brown and White with 16 points in just 23 minutes of play. Ross connected on four of her six three-point attempts and used the big lead to earn some valuable rest in much of the second half. Melissa Rich led the charge on the glass for Lehigh with eight rebounds for a Lehigh team that led the rebounding battle (32-27) for the fourth-straight game.
In all, four Mountain Hawks players scored in double figures, with Kristen Dalton and Alexa Williams pouring in 14 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench. Erica Prosser put up 14 points of her own and added a career-high eight assists in the win.
“The bench was big for us tonight,” Troyan said. “Kristen played a real nice game and Alexa came off the bench and was big for us. We have a real nice balanced attack right now.”
The Mountain Hawks scored more than 50 points in the first half for the second-consecutive game with a 53-point effort against the Red Flash. Lehigh nearly shot the roof off DeGol Arena by connecting on 70.4 percent of its shots in the first period. Alex Ross led the charge on 6-for-8 shooting, including a 4-for-4 clip from behind the arc for a team-high 16 points through the first 20 minutes. As a team, the Brown and White hit on five of its six attempts from downtown for an 83.3 percent rate.
Erica Prosser went more than 18 minutes without attempting a field goal in the period, but the sophomore point guard contributed with her distributing abilities, racking up seven assists in the first half to set a new career high in just 20 minutes of play. Prosser capped off the first half with a flourish by taking the outlet pass from Emily Gratch off a steal and flipping in a layup as time expired to extend the lead to 25 points.
Lehigh has now scored 183 points in four games in the first period, for an average of 45.75 points in the first 20 minutes this season. Meanwhile, opponents have scored just 111 points for an average of 27.75 points in the first half.
The Mountain Hawks started slowly on the offensive end with six turnovers in the first eight minutes of play. But quickly the fast-paced tempo by the Lehigh offense began to pay dividends as the Mountain Hawks forced 16 turnovers in the first half. With a modest lead of 31-22, the Mountain Hawks showed their dominance by going on a 15-2 run to jump out to a 22-point lead with three minutes left in the half that gave them the breathing room they needed for the rest of the game.
Lehigh needed the cushion as it stumbled out to a sloppy start to the second half, going 6:33 seconds without a field goal. The Mountain Hawks were able to right the ship enough to hold on to the big lead – shooting 39.3 percent from the field in the second period – but they were unable to extend the advantage as the Red Flash frustrated Lehigh’s attempt to pull away and actually outscored the Mountain Hawks 34-29 in the second half.
“We definitely weren’t as sharp in the second half, but that’s going to happen in games,” Troyan said. “Overall I think the effort was real good tonight.”
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Fairfield, Conn. to take on the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
Buzzer beaters: Kristen Dalton scored in double figures off the bench for the third straight game Saturday while Erica Prosser hit double figures for the fourth game in a row…Saturday’s game was the Mountain Hawks’ first-ever trip to Loretto for a women’s basketball game…the Lehigh men’s basketball team will be squaring off with the Red Flash on Monday night at 7 p.m. in Stabler Arena…Lehigh is 2-1 on the current four-game road trip, which will conclude on Tuesday night at Sacred Heart.