BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Despite giving up a seven-point halftime lead, a resilient Mountain Hawk squad fought back to take the lead and used a 12-3 run down the stretch to erase any doubt as the Lehigh women’s basketball team topped Binghamton, 72-60, on Saturday evening. The win marked the Mountain Hawks’ third in a row as they improve to 4-5 on the young season.
"I thought we came out of the gate strong, executing and knocking down perimeter shots," said head coach Sue Troyan. "It’s a game that we need to learn from. We can’t relax and let teams back in the game. We need to know how to finish them off."
A balanced offensive attack was led by three players in double figures. Junior Emily Gratch netted 15 on 6-of-10 shooting while senior Courtney Dentler used a lethal three-point shot to score 14. She finished 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Senior Kristen Dalton also added 10 on 4-of-5 shooting.
Binghamton was led by Orla O’Reilly, who scored a game-high 23 points, with 21 coming in the first half.
The Mountain Hawks slowly built an 18-point first half lead, but it was Binghamton who staged a late charge to pull within seven at the break before overtaking Lehigh in the second half.
"I was pleased how our team responded when they got down," said Troyan. "Our seniors stepped up and made big plays down the stretch."
After it was 2-2, Lehigh began creating separation by staging a mini 8-2 run capped off by a three-pointer from senior Erica Prosser to make it 10-4 with 16:25 to go. Prosser had a hand in three of Lehigh’s first four field goals.
The Mountain Hawks eventually opened that 18 point lead with 7:02 to go in the half, but Binghamton went on to outscore Lehigh, 15-4 over the final 5:52 to pull within 43-36 at the half.
The Bearcats’ momentum continued into the second half where they quickly used an 8-0 run for their first lead of the day, 44-43, with 16:44 on the clock. Binghamton maintained its lead until 9:28 to go, when a Dentler three-pointer gave Lehigh a 53-52 advantage with 9:28 to go, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Mountain Hawks continued to build their lead, regaining as much as a 14-point advantage (72-58) with 1:37 left on the clock.
Lehigh shot 49 percent (25-for-51) for the game, including 48 percent (13-for-27) from three-point range. Binghamton finished at 38 percent (22-for-58) and 29 percent (6-for-21) from long range. The Bearcats won the battle of the boards, 34-30.
The Mountain Hawks hit the road next week to face Saint Peter’s and NJIT next Tuesday and Thursday before rounding out their pre-holiday schedule on Saturday (Dec. 11) against Wagner. Tickets for all home games are now on sale and may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (610) 7LU-GAME.