MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Led by a career-high 20 points from senior Courtney Dentler, the Lehigh women’s basketball team bounced back from its season-opening loss by posting a convincing 72-64 win over 2010 WNIT participant Robert Morris on Sunday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks (1-1) jumped out to a quick lead and never trailed on the way to their first victory of the season.
“I thought we came out really focused,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “Just getting off to a quick start and making some shots helped our confidence throughout the whole game. Switching up the lineup helped too.”
Troyan changed things up from Friday, inserting Dentler and sophomore Kelly Peterson into the starting lineup.
“I look at Courtney as a senior and someone who understands the system,” said Troyan. “She brings a sense of calmness to the floor which we didn’t have Friday night. I thought she responded great to being inserted into that position.”
Prosser finished with 11 points and five assists - her second straight game in double figure scoring - while senior Kristen Dalton posted 10 off the bench. Junior Emily Gratch and junior Alexa Williams each had eight.
The Mountain Hawks jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead, forcing Robert Morris to call timeout with 17:11 still remaining in the first half. Four of Lehigh’s five starters had already scored up to that point.
Lehigh continued to add to its lead, extending it to 21-9 with 10:08 to go before the Colonials slowly chipped away, pulling to within five on two occasions. The Mountain Hawks went scoreless for a span of 3:33, allowing Robert Morris to score seven unanswered to make it 21-16 with 6:43 remaining. Lehigh responded by scoring 15 of the final 24 points of the half to open a 36-25 lead at the break.
The Colonials continued to hang around in the second half. A Destiny Harrison three-pointer pulled them back to within 43-37 with 12:53 still remaining. The Mountain Hawks bounced back with an 8-0 run, which included three-pointers on back to back possessions by freshman Hillary Weaver and Dalton to up their lead to 51-37.
The see-saw continued as the Colonials answered with a 7-0 run to cut Lehigh’s lead in half, but the Mountain Hawks effectively put the game away with a 13-2 run, capped off by Dentler’s 17th and career-high 18th points of the afternoon for the 64-46 lead with 5:08 still remaining. That broke Dentler’s previous career-high of 17 set last Mar. 6 against Bucknell.
The Colonials pulled closer down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough as the Mountain Hawks held on for the 72-64 victory.
Lehigh shot 43 percent (26-for-60) on the afternoon, 40 percent (10-for-25) from three-point range, while Robert Morris finished at 37 percent (21-for-57) and 32 percent (6-for-19) from long range. Robert Morris won the battle of the boards, 44-35. Lehigh only had 10 turnovers while forcing 16 from the Colonials.
“We tried to emphasize that 30 turnovers [on Friday] is way too much,” said Troyan. “We tried to limit our turnovers and value the basketball every possession. I thought we did that much better.
“It’s always good to get the first win,” she continued. “It was nice to see. I thought they really responded well from Friday. It’s an important win to get against a very good Robert Morris team who was picked to win their conference.”
The Mountain Hawks return to action next Sunday when they host defending Ivy League Campion Princeton in their home opener at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. That begins a busy stretch of five games in seven days for Lehigh, who then travels to Villanova before heading to Storrs, Conn. for the World Vision Challenge against LSU, defending national champion UConn and Howard.