Posted: February 14, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh benefitted from 33 points off free throws, including a school-record-tying 13 from freshman Alexa Williams, as it earned a 66-57 victory over Army on Saturday in Stabler Arena.
Williams scored a career-high 17 points on just two field goals in her second consecutive start for the Mountain Hawks. Alex Ross and Erica Prosser each scored 17 points, as well, as Lehigh improved to 19-6 on the season, and remained in a tie with American for the top spot in the Patriot league at 8-2. The 19 wins ties the most in a season in Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan’s 14-year tenure, and gives her the 200th win of her career.
“It definitely helped my confidence to get the start again,” Williams said. “I felt like I had a lot more to prove out there.”
Erin Anthony scored a game-high 27 points for Army, as the Black Knights fall to 15-10 on the season and 5-5 in the Patriot League.
The Mountain Hawks connected on 33 free throws in 40 attempts (82.5 percent), as 50 percent of Lehigh’s offense came from the charity stripe. Williams shot just 2-for-4 from the field, but shot 13-for-16 from the line to account for almost all her 17 points.
“She’s a tremendous athlete,” Troyan said of Williams. “She’s got a lot to learn basketball-wise, but she’s going to be a great player soon.”
Prosser also benefitted from 10 trips to the line, with nine of her points coming on free throws.
The lead changed hands four times in the first half as each team struggled to go on a run for the first 13 minutes. The Mountain Hawks trailed the Black Knights, 16-14, with 6:45 remaining when Ross teed up a 3-pointer to give Lehigh the lead.
The bomb from Ross sparked a 17-2 run by the Brown and White to close out the half. Prosser scored five points in the run, including a triple of her own. Emily Gratch added another five points, including the first 3-pointer of her career with 2:13 remaining.
Lehigh locked it down defensively at the end of the first half, forcing 12 turnovers in all and holding the Black Knights scoreless for the final 5:37 of the period. The Mountain Hawks experimented with several defensive looks throughout the game, including putting the 6-foot-3 Williams at the top of the zone to cause confusion with the Army offense.
“We just put that in this week,” Williams said. “I liked it a lot. It was nice to get away from all the banging inside for a night.”
Ross led all Lehigh scorers at the break with eight points, and Tricia Smith chipped in with four points and four assists as the Mountain Hawks went into the break with a 31-18 lead. Williams, making her second consecutive start for the Mountain Hawks, scored six points, including 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Lehigh shot 10-for-12 as a team from the charity stripe, while the Black Knights had only one free throw attempt in the first.
Erin Anthony paced the Black Knights in the first with 11 points, and Nalini Hawkins added four rebounds in the half. But Army shot just 1-for-6 (16.7 percent) from behind the arc, while the Mountain Hawks connected on 3-for-7 (42.9 percent) from downtown.
Smith ended the game with a game-high eight rebounds, to go along with eight points, four assists and three steals in 35 minutes.
Lehigh will return to action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks trek to Hamilton, New York to take on the Colgate Raiders. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and all of the action can be heard live on 91.3 WLVR as well as Lehighsports.com with Jeff Tourial providing the commentary.
Buzzer beaters: The Mountain Hawks joined more than 1,000 schools in raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research by participating in the Pink Zone initiative through the WBCA…Lehigh Gas and Aesculap each donated $1 for every fan in attendance at the game, which amounted to $3,090 in donations from the two companies combined…Lehigh players wore pink ribbons, socks, shoelaces, wristbands and warmup t-shirts before and during the game…With the win, Lehigh has now earned victories against every team in the Patriot League this season.
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