Posted: January 2, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh rattled off its fifth-straight win on Friday afternoon at Stabler Arena, taking down the Fordham Rams 69-55. The Mountain Hawks overcame another big first half hole as they fell behind by double digits in the opening period but rallied back for the win.
With the win, the Mountain Hawks improve to 11-3 for the first time since the 1985-86 season and bump their record at Stabler Arena to 7-0.
“The energy and effort level was much improved in the second half,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said. “We came out a little flat in that first half and their defensive intensity got us out of our rhythm.”
Four Mountain Hawks scored in double figures and two more added nine points as Lehigh used its depth to outlast the Rams. Kristen Dalton scored a team-high 15 points on 5-for-8 from downtown. The five 3-point field goals set a new career high for the junior guard.
Randall Hurst led the charge for the Rams, putting up a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. The Rams managed to outrebound the Mountain Hawks 43-36 thanks in part to Hurst’s efforts on the glass.
Courtney Dentler added 13 points nine rebounds and Erica Prosser chipped in with 11 points and five assists. Courtney Molinaro scored the most points she has in a Lehigh uniform as she put up 10 points and added three rebounds.
“It was really nice to see Courtney (Molinaro) have a breakout game today,” Troyan said. “She’s been really patient and developing a role on this team. She’s coming along and this was a really good confidence builder for her.”
Lehigh struggled through much of the first half, jumping out to another slow start against the Rams. The Mountain Hawks opened the game with a 3:57 scoring drought that allowed Fordham to seize a 7-0 lead.
The Mountain Hawks shot just 10-for-34 (29.4 percent) from the field in the first half, but a string of 3-pointers from Dalton and Prosser helped keep them in the game. Dalton was 4-for-5 from behind the arc in the period, tying a career high in the first half with four makes and scoring a team-high 12 points. Prosser chipped in with two threes on three attempts for six points of her own. Overall the Mountain Hawks shot 60 percent from behind the arc in the first half.
“Those were some key buckets for us in the first half,” Troyan said. “That really got us back into the game. There’s a big difference with going into the half tied as opposed to being behind.”
The game was starting to spiral out of control for the Brown and White as Fordham extended the lead to 24-13 with 6:17 left in the first. But the Mountain Hawks answered back with a 17-6 run to end the period and tie the score at 30. During the run, the Mountain Hawks scored five field goals, with Sullivan assisting on four of those made baskets.
The Mountain Hawks didn’t cool down in the second half either, as they outscored the Rams 39-25 in the final period. Lehigh shot 60.7 percent from the field in the second and held Fordham to just 30.3 percent shooting and 0-for-5 from behind the arc. Overall, the Rams shot 1-for-8 from downtown (12.5 percent).
Molinaro scored eight of her 10 points in the second period as the Mountain Hawks looked for an answer to Hurst on the inside. And Dentler put up nine of her 13 points in the second half as well while the Lehigh bigs had a much more efficient second half.
“Today was just a great team effort,” Troyan said. “They played really unselfishly and played for each other.”
The Mountain Hawks will close out the non-league portion of their schedule when they travel to Akron, Ohio to take on the Zips Sunday at 2 p.m.
Buzzer beaters: Lehigh used its third different starting lineup in the last three games with Kristen Dalton earning her first start of the season...Lehigh had not been tied at the half all season until Friday (30-30 at the end of the first).
Watch the Lehigh - Fordham Post-Game Show