Posted: December 30, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Christmas City Classic championship game lived up to all the expectations and more as Lehigh earned a hard fought 68-66 victory over St. Bonaventure in overtime on Wednesday evening. The Mountain Hawks have now won two straight Christmas City Classic titles and three overall. Junior Erica Prosser earned MVP honors of the tournament for the second straight year as she scored a team-high 20 points and went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. The win extends Lehigh’s home winning streak at Stabler Arena to 24 games and improves its record to 11-2. St. Bonaventure falls to 12-2 with the setback.
“It was a great team effort over a quality team,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “A lot of different people stepped up in different ways. Ryan (Ingalls) came in and played some great defense, Kristen (Dalton) with that big shot in overtime, it was just a great team effort.”
Prosser commented on the game, “That was the most nerve racking game that I’ve been a part of. It was a big win for us and it shows that our team can push through anything.”
After a back and forth first half, the Mountain Hawks took control of the game early in the second half and twice held a 12 point lead. Late foul trouble and several calls by the officials threw Lehigh out of its rhythm and it allowed the Bonnies to make a comeback. With 2:26 left in regulation senior Dana Mitchell from St. Bonaventure hit a layup to give the Bonnies their first lead since six minutes remained in the first half. St. Bonaventure had a 60-58 lead with 20 seconds left, but two free-throws by Prosser tied the game to send it to overtime.
Prosser recalled her thought process on the free-throws, “I was thinking 'please go in, please go in.' Once I knocked them down I knew we were going to get the win.”
With the score tied at 65 in overtime Dalton hit the game-winning jumper with 38 seconds left.
“I give the team a lot of credit, they faced a lot of adversity tonight,” Troyan said. “It was a great win for our program and no matter what happened the team still said we were going to win.”
Junior Courtney Dentler scored 12 points and sophomore Emily Gratch (11) also finished in double-figures for the Brown and White before each fouling out. Senior Tricia Smith dominated the boards grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds, and sophomore Alexa Williams came off the bench to score eight points and pull down eight rebounds. Both Smith and Williams fouled out as well.
In all, the two teams were whistled four 59 fouls in the game, and they combined for 79 free throw attempts. Six players were disqualified from the tightly-called affair.
Lehigh was able to take advantage, hitting a season-high 33 shots from the free-throw line.
For the Bonnies, Mitchell carried the offense as she scored 28 points and had a team-high nine rebounds. St. Bonaventure shot 37 percent and out-rebounded the Mountain Hawks 39-36 overall.
The Bonnies came out strong to open the game as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead and after a few Lehigh baskets they extended their lead to 12-5. The Mountain Hawks, led by Dentler, came right back as they went on an 8-0 run to take a 13-12 lead. Dentler scored eight of the Brown and White’s first 13 points. Both teams battled it out for the rest of the half until the Mountain Hawks rattled off an 8-1 run to take a 31-25 lead into the break.
Dentler led Lehigh in the half with 11 points followed by Prosser who had eight. Smith cleaned up the boards grabbing six rebounds while Williams came off the bench to get four.
The Bonnies were led by Mitchell who netted 12 points and pulled down three boards. As a team St. Bonaventure shot 39 percent which included shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
In the consolation game of the classic Wagner defeated IUPUI 59-47 to up its record to 3-9 on the season. With the loss IUPUI falls to 1-12 on the season.
Making the All-Classic team were Smith from Lehigh, Mitchell and Megan Van Tatenhove from St. Bonaventure, Stephanie McBride from Wagner and Kerah Nelson from IUPUI.
Lehigh will remain at home and take on the Akron Zips Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. in game one of a double-header with the men’s basketball team. The Brown and White men will take on NJIT at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance by calling 610-7LU-GAME or online at Lehighsports.com, and on game day at the Stabler Arena box office 60 minutes prior to tipoff.
Lehigh - St. Bonaventure Post-Game Extra