Posted: February 20, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Trailing by five at the half, Lehigh was able to rally in the second half to defeat its archrival Lafayette 68-58 on Senior Night in Stabler Arena on Saturday. In possibly her last home game of her career, senior Alex Ross shot 8-for-14 and scored a game-high 18 points as a total of four Mountain Hawks finished in double figures. In front of a sea of pink Lehigh won its program-record 11th straight game and 32nd straight at home. The game was Lehigh’s designated Pink Game as it teamed up with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to raise breast cancer awareness. The Mountain Hawks remain in a first place tie with American as they improve to 24-3 and 11-1 in league play. Lafayette falls to 5-21 (3-9) with the setback.
“It wasn’t an X’s or O’s thing, I thought we just had to give more effort,” Mountain Hawks head coach Sue Troyan said about the first half. “I thought we exceeded their intensity level in the second half and that was the difference in the game. We couldn’t really stop them in the first half and we slowed them down a little in the second. I always say when we’re against Lafayette you have to throw the records out because everyone brings their best.”
Troyan continued with her thoughts on Ross, “She put us on her back tonight. She wanted the ball in her hands and hit some big shots. Alex was a real difference maker tonight.”
Ross was helped on the offensive end by sophomore Emily Gratch who went 8-for-10 from the field for 16 points, while junior Erica Prosser had 15 points and Alexa Williams finished with 13. Lehigh out-rebounded Lafayette 31-26 and shot 48.1 percent for the game. The Mountain Hawks forced 26 turnovers and were able to convert them into 24 points.
Lafayette finished with a 54.3 percent shooting percentage, but could only muster 24 second half points. Junior LaKeisha Wright had a team-high 16 points, while also adding four assists. Sophomore Melissa Downey (10) and senior Amanda Smith (10) were the other Leopards in double figures. Lafayette had 19 assists, but struggled from the charity stripe going 7-for-16.
With their pink uniforms on, the Mountain Hawks fell behind Lafayette 11-5 early in the first half. Lehigh battled back to take its only lead of the half, 12-11 off a Prosser layup and free throw. The Leopards would regain the lead on their next possession and used hot shooting to hold the lead the rest of the way. With 2:22 left in the half Lafayette led 34-23, but the Mountain Hawks scored the last six points to bring the score to 34-29 at the break.
The Mountain Hawks started the game shooting poorly, but were able to pick it up at the end of the half to finish at 41.4 percent. Ross and Gratch paced the offense with eight points apiece to lead the team. Lehigh was able to out-score Lafayette 22-16 in the paint and got 14 points from its bench.
Wright led the Leopards with 10 points and four rebounds in the half. Three other players finished with at least five points. Lafayette shot lights out in the half and finished at 58.3 percent. The Leopards narrowly edged Lehigh on the boards 17-15.
The Mountain Hawks tied the game at 36 early in the second half and took their second lead of the game 39-38 with 16:16 left. Lehigh put on the defensive pressure and with less than three minutes in the game Alexa Wiliams was able to score seven straight points to give Lehigh a 65-57 lead. Williams hit a free throw with 35 seconds left to give the Mountain Hawks their final point of the day.
Ross commented about possibly playing her final home game in Stabler Arena, “I’m going to miss this place and I think it’s our fans that really make it tough for opponents to play here. I want to thank everyone that has come out to support us.”
With an attendance of 1,451 at tonight’s game, Lehigh Gas will match that total and donate the money to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Lehigh will close out the regular season on the road beginning with a game at Bucknell on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in Lewisburg. You can hear all the action live on WLVR-FM (91.3) and Lehighsports.com with Jeff Tourial on the broadcast.
Lehigh - Lafayette Post-Game Show