Posted: November 18, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks came out firing in the second half, scoring 46 points to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson 75-45 Wednesday night in their home opener at Stabler Arena. Lehigh started the second half on a 22-2 run that sealed the game for the Brown and White. Sophomore Emily Gratch had a career day for Lehigh recording her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. With the win Lehigh improves to 2-1 on the season.
“The emphasis at halftime was for the first five minutes to get the ball into the post,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “We weren’t hitting from the perimeter in the first half and we felt it would take some pressure off our shooters if we went inside early in the second half. It really helped opened up the perimeter for us.”
Troyan added her thoughts on Gratch, “Emily is a very capable player and she was buried in our post rotation last season, but when she got the chance late in the season she showed what she could do. She is a very deceptive player that is slippery around the basket and her defensive game is really improving. She is only scratching the surface of what she can do and will be even better come Patriot League play.”
The Mountain Hawks finished the game shooting 43 percent from the floor and the Lehigh defense held Fairleigh Dickinson to a 27 percent shooting percentage. The Brown and White finished the game shooting 33 percent from beyond the arc after hitting on 7.7 percent in the first half.
Three other Mountain Hawks scored in double-figures: junior Erica Prosser (21), senior Alex Ross (10), and her classmate Ryan Ingalls (10). Gratch eclipsed her previous career-high in rebounds (9) with 11 and senior Tricia Smith moved closer to 500 with seven to bring her career total to 497.
FDU was led by sophomore Mariyah Laury who had 16 points and junior Alyssa Mayrose with 10.
Lehigh and Fairleigh Dickinson went back and forth in the first half as there were eight lead changes. Lehigh had a 22-20 lead and went on a 7-0 run late in the half to build a 29-20 lead. The Knights would not go into the locker room easy as they answered by scoring five points in the last minute of the half which included a buzzer-beating half court three-pointer by sophomore Mariyah Laury to bring the score to 29-25.
Laury and Lehigh’s Gratch were tied at the half with nine points apiece. Gratch was the Mountain Hawks’ leading rebounder with six and both teams were tied with 21 boards apiece in the half. Lehigh couldn’t find its groove from the three-point line as it shot 1-for-13 for 7.7 percent and Fairleigh Dickinson’s offense was paced by five three pointers.
The Brown and White were able to regroup at the half and come out on the huge run to help put away the Knights. The Mountain Hawks held FDU to only 20 second half points and the Knights were held to a 22 percent field goal percentage.
A big reason for the explosion in offense for Lehigh was it was able to shoot 7-for-11 from beyond the arc in the half with Prosser and Ross each hitting two.
The Brown and White will get one day to prepare for its next opponent and it will be right back on the court Friday.
“We can enjoy the win for a moment and then starting tomorrow we have to get ready for St. Francis (Pa.),” Troyan said. “We just have to focus on them and get ready to play.”
The Mountain Hawks will stay at home and host St. Francis (Pa.), on Friday night at 7 p.m. from Stabler Arena. Live video will be available at Lehighsports.com and the game will be broadcast on 91.3 WLVR-FM with Mike Lederer calling the action. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME or by logging onto Lehighsports.com.
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