Posted: November 30, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks came home from their four-game road trip with a bang on Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena, defeating the Princeton Tigers, 63-43, for their fourth-consecutive victory. Lehigh improves to 5-1 for the first time since the 1995-96 season with the win, while Princeton drops to 3-2.
The win also marked the first for the Mountain Hawks over the Tigers since Nov. 23, 2004.
Sophomore guard Erica Prosser led the way again for the Brown and White, putting up 15 points in a team-high 34 minutes. Senior forward Haly Crites pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and added seven points in the victory.
By the end of the game, 12 Lehigh players saw action, with nine registering at least one field goal. Kristen Dalton and Alexa Williams led a Lehigh bench (eight points each) that accounted for 23 of the 63 points for the Mountain Hawks.
“I thought it was just a real good team effort tonight,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said. “No one really stood out. It was one of those gritty games where everyone contributed. We just gutted it out, and that’s the type of team we are.”
The Mountain Hawks struggled to put the ball in the basket Sunday afternoon, shooting just 35.2 percent from the field. It was Lehigh’s worst shooting effort of the season, and tied with the Nov. 16 loss at St. Joseph’s for the lowest point total of the year.
But Lehigh’s defense made up for the lack of shooting efficiency, limiting the Tigers to 23.1 percent from the field, including just 17.6 percent on field goals in the second half. Lehigh’s defense suffocated the Princeton shooters, only allowing one three-point field goal on 13 attempts in the second half.
“I was really pleased with how we played on the defensive end,” Troyan said. “We talked the last couple days about firming up our defense and not relying on our offense to carry the load. We weren’t our best tonight on the offensive end, but our defense picked up the slack.”
The Mountain Hawks closed out the first half on a 12-0 run, which gave them a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Trailing 25-19 with 3:53 remaining in the first, Lehigh began racking up the points, led by back-to-back three-pointers by Prosser. Freshman Emily Gratch capped off the run with some dramatics when she sunk a layup as time expired to give the Brown and White a 31-25 lead at the break.
The Tigers could not make the comeback as they struggled to get any of their shots to fall. Lehigh held Princeton to just 18 points in the second half on 6-for-34 shooting, and the Tigers 43-point total was the lowest for any Lehigh opponent this season.
While the free-throw line almost cost the Brown and White in its last victory against Sacred Heart on Tuesday, it was the Mountain Hawks’ composure at the stripe that helped put this one away. As Princeton tried to extend the game by putting Lehigh on the line, the Mountain Hawks responded by sinking 80 percent of their attempts to only extend the lead.
The Mountain Hawks return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.
Lehigh-Princeton Service Electric 2 Sports postgame show, November 30, 2008