Posted: March 22, 2010
AMES, Iowa – Lehigh’s record-breaking season has come to an end as the Mountain Hawks fell to Iowa State 79-42 in their first round game of the NCAA Tournament Sunday night in Hilton Coliseum. The Brown and White fell behind early and struggled to get into an offensive rhythm the remainder of the game. Lehigh shot 22 percent for the game and the Cyclones scored 36 points in the paint as they fed off the 6,738 fans in attendance. 6’7” freshman Anna Prins controlled the post for Iowa State as she finished with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Mountain Hawks end their 2009-10 season with a 29-4 overall record. The Cyclones keep their season alive and improve to 24-7.
“I thought Iowa State played a tremendous game,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “They’re one of the top teams in the country; I thought they played a tremendous game on both ends of the floor.”
She continued on the team’s slow start, “It wasn’t the start that we wanted. We really emphasized to our kids the importance of the first five minutes. I think we shot 1-for-12; we didn’t get out of the gates strong and to their credit they played tremendous defense.”
The Mountain Hawks finished the game 11-for-50 from the field, which included going 7-for-17 from beyond the arc. Lehigh was out-rebounded by the much bigger Cyclones 46-24 with senior Tricia Smith battling in the post for a team-high seven boards. Emily Gratch finished the game as the only Mountain Hawk in double figures (12). Erica Prosser was held in check by Iowa State as she finished with seven points on 1-for-11 shooting.
Prins sidekick in the post, freshman Chelsea Poppens, finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Iowa State shot 49 percent in the game and 93 percent from the free throw line (14-for-15). The Cyclones forced 17 Lehigh turnovers and scored 18 second chance points.
Gratch commented on Iowa State’s post play, “They’re a much bigger team than us, but I didn’t think any of us thought it would affect us that much. Their best players played really well today.”
Iowa State jumped out to a 12-0 lead by going down low to Prins who scored the Cyclones first four points. Kristen Dalton got Lehigh on the board with a free throw at the 13:38 mark of the first half. The Cyclones built a 19-5 lead with 10 minutes left in the half, but a 7-0 run by the Mountain Hawks made it a 19-12 game. Smith started the run off with a three-pointer from the corner and Gratch added the final four points.
The Cyclones kept the offensive pressure up and did not lead by fewer than 10 for the rest of the half. Prins nailed a jumper with two seconds remaining to give Iowa State a 35-20 lead at the break.
Courtney Dentler hit two three-pointers in the final three minutes of the half to lead Lehigh with six points. Gratch contributed four points and a team-high five rebounds. The Mountain Hawks struggled shooting the ball going 5-for-25 (20%) from the field.
Iowa State was led by Prins who had a team-high 13 points and six rebounds. The Cyclones shot 44 percent in the half and out-rebounded Lehigh 22-16.
The Mountain Hawks came out of the locker room strong as they started the second half on a 5-0 run. Iowa State battled right back and answered with a 9-0 run of its own though, as it continued to attack the post. Lehigh never gave up, but the deficit proved to be too tough to overcome.
Despite the loss, the Mountain Hawks can hang their heads high because they put together one of the best seasons in Patriot League history.
“I think it’s important for us to remember that we made it with this team,” Prosser said. “We had great senior leadership and we won the regular season and tournament championship so although this isn’t how you want to feel at the end of the year, we have to remember we had a great year and this doesn’t take away from that.”
Lehigh ends the season with a new school and Patriot League record for wins (29), it tied the record for league wins in a season (13) and currently has a 33 game home winning streak intact.
Photography 2010, (c) Gary Clarke
Lehigh - Iowa State Post-Game Extra