Posted: February 27, 2010
WORCESTER, Mass. – For the third straight game the Lehigh women’s basketball team overcame a halftime deficit as it defeated Holy Cross 65-55 Saturday afternoon from the Hart Center. The Mountain Hawks trailed by six at the half, but were able to out-score the Crusaders 42-26 after the break to earn the victory. The Brown and White shot a season-best 67 percent in the second half and had four players finish the game in double figures. Lehigh finishes the regular season at 26-3 (13-1) overall, which ties the program record for wins in a season. With the American win over Lafayette, the Mountain Hawks and Eagles are Patriot League regular season co-champions.
Although it’s not official, the Mountain Hawks are the favorite to be the No. 1 seed heading into next weekend’s league tournament. Lehigh will have to wait until Monday to see if it beat American in RPI, but the Mountain Hawks should hold the edge as they did the entire season. As of February 21, Lehigh’s RPI was 71 and American’s was 119 according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report. The new rankings will be released on Monday.
“I thought defensively we played another strong game, but we struggled on the offensive end in the first half,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “The posts got into foul trouble in the first half, but I thought we gutted through it and they came up big in the second half. Our offense really got ignited in the second half and we shot much better.”
Junior Erica Prosser led the way for Lehigh as she had a team-high 14 points and eight assists. Other Mountain Hawks in double figures were: sophomores Emily Gratch (13) and Alexa Williams (10), and junior Courtney Dentler who had 11. Out of their combined 48 points, 31 of them came in the second half. The Mountain Hawks finished with 30 points in the paint and had a total of 19 assists in the game.
Dentler commented on the offense, “We knew that it was really important that we got the ball into the post in the second half. They started doubling down on us and it allowed us to kick it out and create opportunities for everyone.”
For the second consecutive game the Brown and White finished shooting 50 percent from the field. Lehigh narrowly lost the rebounding edge 29-28, but forced the Crusaders to turn the ball over 19 times.
Holy Cross (9-20, 5-9) was led by junior Whitney Fremeau who had a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Amy Lepley was the Crusaders other big contributor as she had 14 points. Holy Cross shot 43.1 percent for the game, which included going 6-for-16 from beyond the arc.
The Mountain Hawks jumped out to an early 6-3 lead, but it wouldn’t last long as Holy Cross went on a 9-2 run to take a 12-8 lead with 14:55 left in the half. After tying the score at 14, senior Tricia Smith nailed a three-pointer to give the Brown and White the lead back. With the score even at 20 with just under five minutes left in the half, the Crusaders went on a 9-3 run to end the half. At the break Holy Cross held a 29-23 lead.
Lehigh was led by Dentler who had six points before she sat out because of foul trouble. The Mountain Hawks shot 37 percent in the half, but were out-rebounded 18-14.
Lepley paced the Crusaders with eight points at the break, while Fremeau and senior Bethany O’Dell each had seven.
The Mountain Hawks opened up the second half on a 9-2 run to claim a 32-31 lead. Lehigh extended the lead to six, 41-35 off a fast start from Prosser and Gratch. They scored the first 18 points of the second half for the Brown and White. The Mountain Hawks built a 12-point lead with 11:53 left in the game, but Holy Cross was able to cut it to four (53-39) with 7:36 left. Four points would be the closest the Crusaders would get as Lehigh led by double figures for the final six minutes of the game.
Lehigh will have exactly one week before its next game and Troyan knows the time off is needed. “The important thing is that we get some rest and get completely healthy before next weekend. The team will get a couple days off and then we have to start focusing on our next opponent. I think this game gave us a great opportunity in terms of what will see next weekend.”
Check back to Lehighsports.com on Monday to find out who the Mountain Hawks will face in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament.
Mountain Hawks Basketball Post-Game Extra with Jeff Tourial and Erica Prosser '11