Posted: January 14, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Lehigh overcame shooting woes and a late rally by the Midshipmen that sent the game to overtime, but still managed to walk away with the 66-63 victory over Navy at Alumni Hall on Wednesday. Erica Prosser put up one of her best performances in the Brown and White with career highs in points (22) and rebounds (9) in the win.
Lehigh improves to 13-4 after Wednesday’s thriller and 2-0 in the Patriot League. The Midshipmen fall to 7-10 overall and 0-2 in league play.
“You have to give Navy a lot of credit,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said. “They showed a lot of character coming back like they did. But you have to give our kids a lot of credit too. They really fought hard in overtime and I was proud of how they competed.”
Lehigh appeared to be heading to an easy victory with a five-point lead and one minute remaining, but the Midshipmen made things difficult with a late run to tie the score at the end of regulation. The Mountain Hawks still clung to a three-point lead with 21 seconds left when Prosser made a drive for a tough layup in traffic, but an offensive foul call negated the points and gave Navy new life. The Midshipmen raced down court and handed the ball to Whitney Davidson, who buried a 3-pointer to tie the score, 58-58, with 15 seconds remaining.
Prosser’s 3-point attempt for the win missed wide and Lehigh headed for overtime for the first time this season.
Lehigh got out to a slow start in overtime, falling behind, 60-58, for the first time since early in the first half, but the Mountain Hawks would rebound and outscore the Midshipmen, 8-5, in the extra frame. Alexa Williams was held to just six points in the game, but it was the big layup by the freshman center that gave Lehigh a 63-62 lead with just 59 seconds remaining in the overtime.
Two made free throws by Prosser bumped the lead to 65-62, and a foul by Williams put Davidson on the line with 3.9 seconds remaining. Davidson sank the first freebie and intentionally missed the second in an attempt to score the tying basket, but Williams pulled down a big rebound to seal the win.
“I definitely think that we are going to need these kinds of games later on in Patriot League,” Prosser said. “You don’t want to go and play a game like that because we had a big lead, but it will probably help us later on.”
Courtney Dentler joined Prosser as the only other Mountain Hawk in double figures on Wednesday. Haly Crites chipped in with another strong performance, falling just short of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds in the win. Even with those strong performances, the Mountain Hawks shot just 35.5 percent from the floor and just 17.6 percent from the 3-point line in the game.
The Mountain Hawks extended their lead to 11 points, 30-19, just three minutes into the second half, mostly because of free throws, as Navy went into the bonus in fouls just six minutes into the half. Lehigh shot 19-for-27 from the free throw line, making more free throws than Navy attempted all game.
“That was important, obviously,” Troyan said. “Especially when you’re struggling to shoot the ball and they didn’t allow us to get in a flow there offensively. Those shots from the free throw line were really key for us.”
Navy chipped away at the deficit and went on a 12-3 run to cut the gap to 37-35 with more than nine minutes remaining.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Courtney Dentler and Alex Ross extended the lead to eight points, 45-37, and seemed to swing the momentum back to Lehigh. But Navy answered again with Cassie Consedine draining a triple to cut the lead back to five with just more than eight minutes remaining. Consedine scored 15 of her team-high 18 points in the second half despite fouling out with 1:39 remaining in the game.
The lead would get no smaller than five until 48 seconds remained in the game, when Morgan Hill sank a layup to pull Navy to within three, 58-55.
The first half was a battle for survival for both teams. The two squads combined to shoot 16-for-61 (26.2 percent) from the field. The Mountain Hawks shot 31.0 percent from the field, but just 1-for-7 from 3-point land (14.3 percent). Navy fared even worse from the field in the first period, shooting 21.9 percent from the field and going 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) from downtown. Navy’s leading scorer Consedine epitomized the Midshipmen’s struggles in the first, going 1-for-10 from the field for just three points.
While both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the first, the Mountain Hawks were able to head into the locker room with a slight advantage. Lehigh held Navy to no field goals for the final 6:15 of the half and went on a 6-1 run to grab a 22-17 lead at the midpoint.
Crites and Prosser did most of the damage for the Brown and White in the first half, putting up seven points each and accounting for nearly two-thirds of Lehigh’s offensive output. Prosser also pulled down a team-leading five rebounds in the opening period, tying her career high in just the first 20 minutes of play. Angela Myers paced the Midshipmen in the first, contributing with five points.
Lehigh returns to action Sunday afternoon, when the Mountain Hawks visit Army at 3 p.m.
Buzzer beaters: Alex Ross returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 29…Lehigh has now gone on five overnight trips this season, and the Mountain Hawks are 3-2 in those games…Wednesday’s game was Lehigh’s first overtime contest since Jan. 19, 2008 versus Army, where the Mountain Hawks survived a scare by the Black Knights and won 59-57 at Stabler Arena.
Mountain Hawks Basketball Post-Game Extra