Posted: December 18, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team showed very little rust coming off an 11-day break as it defeated NJIT 64-38 Friday night at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks pulled away midway through the first half and never looked back as they used their relentless defense to shutdown the Highlanders’ offense. Lehigh had four players in double figures and was led by senior Alex Ross (14) who is now the Brown and White’s career leader in three-point field goals with 239. The win gives the Mountain Hawks 22 straight home victories and improves their record to 8-2 on the season. It was the least amount of points Lehigh has given up since it defeated Colgate 51-39 on February 20, 2008.
“I thought we did a great job coming off the break,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “I thought offensively we were a little rusty, but that is a result of the long layover and NJIT did a good job of getting us off our offensive game.”
Balancing out Lehigh’s offensive attack was junior Erica Prosser (10), senior Kristen Dalton (10) and sophomore Emily Gratch with 10. Prosser tied her career-high with nine assists and senior Ryan Ingalls came off the bench to tie her career-high in rebounds (6). Freshman Sarah Pearce scored a career-high four points as she came in late in the game.
“I see it as my role to come off the bench and provide a spark to the team,” Ingalls said. “As a team we focused heavily on rebounding which helps us score points in transition and get our offense going.”
The Mountain Hawks finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field and forced 23 NJIT turnovers. Lehigh finished with a season-high 51 rebounds as senior Tricia Smith led the way with seven.
“That’s been the focus these past 10-days to clean up the rebounding and I thought it was much improved tonight,” Troyan said. “We really limited their chances and gave them no good looks at the basket.”
“We focused on our defensive intensity and playing for a full 40 minutes,” Ingalls added. “We’re almost to our full potential, but were not quite there yet.”
The Highlanders (3-6) were led by junior Jessica Gerald who had 14 points and three rebounds. For the game NJIT hit only one three-pointer as it finished 1-for-17 from beyond the arc (six percent).
With the score close early at 11-8, the Mountain Hawks went on an 11-0 run to build a 22-8 lead and they held NJIT scoreless for 6:30 during that time. The Brown and White played well defensively in the half, forcing the Highlanders to turn the ball over 15 times. Lehigh won the battle of the boards outrebounding NJIT 27 to 16. The Highlanders’16 points is the fewest the Mountain Hawks have allowed all season in a half.
Prosser finished the first half leading all scorers with eight points and six assists. Ingalls came off the bench to tie her career-high with six rebounds and she also contributed five points.
NJIT only shot 24 percent from the field in the half which included going 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. Senior Katie Piekielski and Gerald led the Highlanders with four points apiece.
The Mountain Hawks continued the pressure in the second half and at one point had a 27 point lead. Lehigh must now hit the road for the first time since the Princeton game on December 2.
“We’re going into Sunday’s game very confident,” Ingalls said. “We know it’s our last game before the holiday break so we want to make sure we put all of our focus into it.”
Lehigh will hit the road and head to Smithfield R.I., to take on the Bryant Bulldogs on Sunday at 2 p.m. This will end the Mountain Hawks three game home stand and is their last game before the holiday break. The game will be broadcast live on WLVR-FM (91.3) with Jeff Tourial on the call starting at 1:45 p.m.
Lehigh - NJIT Post-Game Extra