Posted: January 9, 2010
WASHINGTON, - Lehigh’s late rally against a shorthanded American squad couldn’t be completed as the Eagles defeated the Mountain Hawks 69-65 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. Senior Alex Ross hit a game tying three-pointer with two-tenths of a second left in regulation, but American, led by junior Michelle Kirk who scored a career-high 32 points, was able to outlast the Brown and White in the extra minutes. With the loss Lehigh falls to 13-3 (0-1) and gets its eight game win streak snapped. The Eagles, who dressed only seven players due to injuries, improve to 8-7 (1-0) on the season.
“We struggled early on and it caused us to have to play catch up for most of the game,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “I thought we did a good job of getting a hand in the face of Kirk for most of the game, but she was able to hit some tough shots. She is a great player who can knock down some big time shots.”
Down by only five at the break, Lehigh fell behind by 12 early on in the second half as American built a 42-30 lead. The Mountain Hawks were able to use an 11-0 run to get back into the game and would eventually hold a 51-50 lead with 5:06 left in the game. Back-to-back steals by the Eagles allowed them to reclaim the lead and force the Brown and White to start fouling. Lehigh was trailing 56-53 when Ross hit the three-point basket from eight feet behind the three-point line to send it to overtime. American built a 65-61 lead in overtime and four Kirk free throws eventually iced the game
For the second consecutive game sophomore Emily Gratch finished with a double-double, contributing 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Junior Erica Prosser recorded her first career double-double as she finished with 13 points and a career-high 10 assists. Senior Tricia Smith had a strong game on the boards finishing with 11.
Lehigh shot only 37 percent from the field and was 5-for-22 from beyond the arc. Ross finished the game 4-for-21 from the field and 2-for-13 on three-pointers.
Besides Kirk, American was led by three players who finished with nine points: Ebony Edwards, Ohemaa Nyanin and Raven Harris. Nyanin tied Gratch with a game-high 13 rebounds and helped the Eagles out-rebound Lehigh 42-40.
American came out and showed why it was voted to finish second in the Patriot League this season, as it built an early 11-4 lead. The Mountain Hawks used an 8-0 run to grab their only lead of the half, but it wouldn’t last long. The Eagles, behind Kirk, came right back to take a 16-12 lead and they wouldn’t look back. American took a 35-30 lead into the break and at one point led by as many as nine points.
Kirk paced the Eagles as she dropped in an impressive 16 points in the half to lead all scorers.
Ross struggled, only shooting 3-for-12 in the half, but still led Lehigh with seven points. The Mountain Hawks out-rebounded American 24-18 and were led by Smith (9) and Gratch (7). The Brown and White shot 33 percent from the field which included going 3-for-11 on threes.
“It’s going to be a quick turnaround as we have to take on Navy on Wednesday,” Troyan said. “They’re playing well and are coming off a big win over Bucknell. Today’s game was a good wake up call for us and as a whole we have struggled in our last few games. We’ll have a few days to prepare then we’re right back at it against Navy.”
The Mountain Hawks will take on the Midshipmen (9-7,1-0) Wednesday night from Stabler Arena at 7:05 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. Wednesday’s game is winter warm-up night at Stabler Arena and all fans are encouraged to bring winter clothing items to donate which will be redistributed to area homeless shelters. Fans who donate items will receive free admission to the game.
Lehigh Women's Basketball Post-Game Extra