ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In an exciting game that featured 10 lead changes and six ties, the Lehigh women’s basketball team dropped a tough game to the Navy Midshipmen on Wednesday night, 63-62. Lehigh drops to 10-7 and 0-2 in league play.
“Navy played extremely well as a whole,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “They had better energy and immediate focus. They hit some really big shots too.”
Senior Courtney Dentler led the way for the Mountain Hawks, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Junior Emily Gratch added 14 points and senior Kristen Dalton contributed eight points and seven assists.
“This game is not deciding the championship,” said Troyan. “There is a lot of Patriot League play left. From this game, we just have to learn from it and get better.”
As expected, the Patriot League’s top two three-point shooting teams came out firing from beyond the arc, attempting eight threes prior to the first media timeout. On its first possession of the game, Navy’s Erin Edwards hit a three. Lehigh followed on its first possession with a three from junior Aly Byorick. Jade Geif would score the next five points for Navy as the Midshipmen led, 8-3. Dentler nailed a three pointer and then followed with a layup on the next possession to tie the game up at eight heading into the first media timeout.
Lehigh went on a 9-3 run that was highlighted by a left-handed layup by senior Erica Prosser followed by a three-pointer from Dalton. Dentler then was fouled on a made layup and made the free-throw. Sophomore Kelly Peterson drilled a three to make the score 19-11 in favor of Lehigh with 12:05 remaining in the half.
Navy would warm up though as Angela Myers scored the next five points to slim Lehigh’s lead down to 19-16. Following a field goal by Geif, junior Alexa Williams drained her first three-pointer of the season to increase the Mountain Hawks’ lead to 22-19. Navy would re-take the lead though when Myers made a three-pointer with 5:55 remaining in the half, making the score 25-23. The Midshipmen finished off a 16-4 run on a Geif layup, forcing a Mountain Hawk timeout.
Lehigh got the score tied back up when Gratch and Prosser had field goals. Dalton then had another three-pointer to give the Mountain Hawks a 30-27 lead. However, Navy scored the final five points of the half, including a buzzer-beating three by Audrey Bauer to make the score 32-30 in favor of Navy. The Mountain Hawks shot 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from three in the first half.
The Midshipmen started the second half with a mini 5-0 run as Myers hit a three and Alix Membreno scored on a layup, giving Navy a 37-30 lead. With the score then being 39-31, the Mountain Hawks showed a little bit of life as Dentler and Williams combined for six points on three-straight possessions to make the score 39-37 in favor of Navy.
The game of runs continued, as Navy heated up again going on a 7-0 run to increase its lead to 46-37 at the 12:52 mark. Prosser then answered with a deep three from the corner. Gratch scored on back-to-back possessions to cut Navy’s lead down to two. After Geif extended the lead to four, sophomore Becky Guman and Gratch came up big on consecutive baskets, tying the game up at 48 with 8:30 remaining.
Myers continued her hot shooting, draining a three with 7:38 to go, giving the Midshipmen a 51-48 lead. Gratch again answered back with a field goal to trim the Navy lead down to one. Lehigh retook the lead with 5:10 remaining as Dalton stole a pass and converted a lay-up, putting the Mountain Hawks in front, 52-51. The back and forth game continued, as Myers hit two free throws to put the Midshipmen back in front.
With Navy leading 55-54 with 2:17 to go, Gratch scored on a layup off a beautiful pass from Prosser. Dentler then took a charge that turned out to be big, as Gratch scored again to increase the Lehigh lead to three. Edwards however hit a three with 1:15 remaining to tie the game up at 58. Dentler then hit a medium range jumper from the baseline with one minute to go, putting Lehigh back in front by two. Chey Arvin had the game-deciding basket, as she drilled a three with 29 seconds remaining, putting Navy up 61-60.
Dentler was then called on a charge with 11 seconds to go. Myers scored on a drawn up inbounds play to put Navy up by three. Williams hit a two-point jumper, but that would not be enough, ending the game in a 63-62 win for the Midshipmen.
For the game, Lehigh shot 45.6 percent from the field while Navy hit 35.5 percent of its shots. The Mountain Hawks hit 43.8 percent of their three point shots, while Navy made 33.3 percent. The Midshipmen won the battle of the boards, 44-31.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Sunday Jan. 16 at West Point to face Army. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. with audio coverage on WLVR-FM (91.3) and Lehighsports.com. Lehigh returns home on Jan. 19 and will play host to Colgate. Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (610) 7LU-GAME.