Posted: January 30, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh won its sixth straight game Saturday afternoon as it defeated Holy Cross 58-52 inside Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks struggled from beyond the arc, but were led by another strong defensive performance as they out-rebounded the Crusaders 45-30. The Brown and White were able to get some close looks at the basket as 20 of its 45 rebounds were on the offensive end. Sophomore Alexa Williams led the way with her second double-double of the season (12 points, 11 rebounds). With the win the Mountain Hawks win their 29th straight home game and improve to 19-3, 6-1 on the season. Holy Cross falls to 6-16 overall and 2-5 in league play.
“It wasn’t our best effort today, but our defense kept us in it,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “Since league play has started our defense has really been the staple of our game and it has allowed us to win games when our offense isn’t there.”
The Mountain Hawks were able to control almost the entire second half and with 7:34 left in the game they were up by 17 points. Holy Cross didn’t go away as the Crusaders clawed their way back to within six points three times in the final four minutes of the game. A three-pointer by Meredith Ward with 11 seconds left pulled the Crusaders to within four. Alex Ross sealed the game for Lehigh with two free throws to end the game.
Lehigh finished the game shooting 35 percent from the floor, but only managed to hit one three-pointer (6.7%). Troyan isn’t concerned with the poor shooting. “Today was one of those days we weren’t knocking them down and I’m a firm believer that when you’re not on, you have to keep shooting. You have to shoot your way out of slumps like this.”
The only other Mountain Hawk to finish in double figures was sophomore Emily Gratch with a team-high 14 points. Helping Williams on the boards were seniors Tricia Smith (eight) and Alex Ross who tied her career-high with seven. After 12 first half turnovers Lehigh regrouped in the second half and only turned it over six times.
Holy Cross was led by senior Tayana Carper who had a team-high 14 points. Her classmate Briana McFadden contributed 10 and junior Whitney Fremeau dropped in 11. The Crusaders were without their leading scorer, senior Bethany O’Dell who was out with an injury.
“Holy Cross is a quality program and when a player like O’Dell is out you know someone else will step up,” Troyan said. "Carper had a real nice game for them and overall they played a tough game.”
The game started with both teams trading baskets as the action went back and forth. Holy Cross held a 9-8 lead with 13:43 left in the half and that was the last time it would hold the lead. The Mountain Hawks jumped ahead 10-9 and the closest Holy Cross would get was within one the rest of the half. The Brown and White ended the half on a 9-3 run that gave it a 26-19 lead at the break. There was a total of six lead changes in the half.
Gratch and senior Kristen Dalton were at it again as they led Lehigh with seven points apiece in the first half. Right behind them was Williams who had six points and four rebounds. The Mountain Hawks turned the ball over 12 times in the half, but they were able to out-rebound the Crusaders 20-12. Lehigh finished the half shooting 37.5 percent, but went only 1-for-9 from three-point range.
Fremeau led Holy Cross with seven points and McFadden, who got into foul trouble, only had three. The Crusaders shot 28.6 percent in the half and had seven thefts.
Lehigh will get a week off before it hosts American Saturday February 6 at 7:05 p.m. in Stabler Arena. It will mark the start of the second round of Patriot League play and the Mountain Hawks will seek to avenge their only league loss which was against the Eagles. 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 - Holy Cross Post-Game Show