Posted: March 7, 2010
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team showed why it’s the No. 1 seed as it defeated Holy Cross 73-57 Sunday afternoon in the Hart Center to advance to its second straight Patriot League championship game. For the first time in five games the Mountain Hawks were able to go into the half with the lead and they didn’t let up in the second half as they secured the victory. Lehigh finished the game shooting 48 percent and was led by Emily Gratch who dropped in 20 points and nine rebounds. The Mountain Hawks improve to 28-3 on the season and will host No. 2 seed American next Saturday in Stabler Arena at 6 p.m. Holy Cross closes out the season at 10-21.
I’m so happy for the team,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “The team worked so hard in the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed and to be able to host the title game is a great feeling. Being able to play the championship game at home means so much because we’re very effective at home. I’m just so happy for the team; they put in a lot of hard work, but we’re not done yet.”
Senior Tricia Smith gave her thoughts on hosting the title game, “We’re all really excited. We haven’t lost a home game in two years, but we know it’s going to be a tough game no matter which team we play. The entire team has worked so hard and we all want to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.”
Troyan gave her thoughts on the game, “I thought our offense really got going early and our post players did a great job handling the double teams. The post did a great job of working inside out and kicking it back to our perimeter players. Alex (Ross) hit some big shots early and it really helped energize the team.”
Ross had a great game offensively as she added 13 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Junior Erica Prosser (12) and sophomore Alexa Williams (12) also finished in double figures. The Mountain Hawks out-rebounded Holy Cross 35-31 and connected on 41 percent of their three-pointers (9-for-22).
The Crusaders had three players finish in double figures and were led by freshman Amy Lepley who had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Briana McFadden contributed 12, while junior Whitney Fremeau also had 12. Holy Cross finished the game shooting 32 percent from the field and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
The Crusaders were able to jump out a 5-2 lead, but the Mountain Hawks turned things around quickly and went on a 15-0 run. Lehigh’s big run was fueled by four three-pointers from Ross (two), Prosser and Dentler. The Brown and White held Holy Cross scoreless for 7:15 during that stretch. The Crusaders responded with a run of their own to bring the score to 17-11 with 7:37 left in the half. Fremeau and Lepley had the first 11-points for Holy Cross. Lehigh built its lead back up to double digits, but the Crusaders cut it back to six at 29-23 with 2:02 left. A string of free throws by Ross at the end of the half gave Lehigh a 35-25 lead at the break.
Ross came out strong as she had a team-high 10 points and four rebounds at the half. Gratch was right behind her with eight points and three boards. Lehigh shot 46 percent in the first half, which included an impressive 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Fremeau led the way for Holy Cross with 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Lepley led all players with eight rebounds in the half. Holy Cross shot 32 percent and tied Lehigh in rebounds with 16.
The Mountain Hawks kept rolling in the second half as they built a 15-point lead, 49-34, with 13:43 left in the game. Gratch took over the second half and gave Lehigh an 18-point lead with 11:01 left with a lay-up. The Brown and White cruised the rest of the way and at one point led by as many as 20 with 1:03 left in the game.
Lehigh will return home to Bethlehem and will have a week to prepare for the championship game next Saturday at 6 p.m. in Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks will play the second seeded American Eagles in the 2010 Patriot League championship game and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto Lehighsports.com or at the arena box office prior to tip-off.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and students with a valid student ID. Lehigh students and faculty/staff must purchase tickets to the game because it is a postseason event. All ID card holders of any kind will be asked to purchase a ticket to the game. Season ticket holders are guaranteed their regular season seats and should purchase by phone or by visiting Grace Hall.
Photos provided by Jim Ross
Lehigh Mountain Hawks Post-Game Extra