BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team led by as many as 14 in the second half, but was unable to hold on against a feisty Lafayette team on Saturday, losing 57-54 to the Leopards in Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks shot 3-of-22 in the final 16:04, leading to a Lafayette rally.
“The momentum definitely changed in the second half,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “We struggled from the three-point arc. Lafayette was really good in the post and that clogged everything up inside.”
Senior Erica Prosser moved into fourth all-time for scoring in the Lehigh record books, as she netted 14 points to give her 1,472 for her career, passing Jessica DePalo. Prosser also tied her career-high in assists, as she dished out 10.
Junior Emily Gratch added 13 points and senior Courtney Dentler had 10 to go along with seven rebounds. Junior Alexa Williams was strong on the boards again, tallying 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Danielle Fiacco was big down low, scoring 14 points and snatching eight rebounds for Lafayette.
Lafayette got out in front early with a 4-1 lead, but Lehigh got hot quickly. Senior Kristen Dalton hit a three-pointer and Gratch hit a jumper in the paint. Dentler and Williams followed with layups which was then followed by free throws from Prosser. Williams capped off a 14-0 run when she stole a pass and took it all the way for a lay in. Lehigh had a 15-6 lead with 11 minutes to go in the half.
The rest of the first half was back-and-forth, but the Mountain Hawks still managed to maintain a nine-point lead heading into the locker room. Lehigh had a 31-23 lead at that point as things were looking good. The Mountain Hawks were dominant inside in the first half, as they managed to outscore the Leopards 20-8 in the paint.
In the second half, the Mountain Hawks continued its dominance, as Prosser and Gratch hit layups and senior Aly Byorick converted from three to build the lead to 40-26 with 17:33 remaining, Lehigh’s largest lead. From that point, things got tough as the Leopards went on a 19-4 run and grabbed their first lead since the beginning of the first half. Lafayette led 45-44 with 8:48 remaining.
Prosser then converted on one of two free throws and Gratch followed with a layup at the 6:43 mark, giving the Mountain Hawks a 47-45 lead. The field goal by Gratch was Lehigh’s first in over 10 minutes and ended a drought of 14 missed field goals.
With Lehigh leading 52-49 after Dentler hit a layup and 3:06 to go, the Leopards converted four straight free throws to regain the lead. Gratch then made a field goal with 1:42 remaining to give the Mountain Hawks a 54-53 lead. Lafayette made its next four free throws and Lehigh was unable to score from there, making the final score 57-54 in favor of the Leopards.
For the game, Lehigh shot 35.1 percent from the field while Lafayette shot just 28.3 percent. The Leopards won the battle of the boards, 46-43. Lehigh shot just 13 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the charity stripe.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Jan. 26 and will travel to Bucknell. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. Following Bucknell, Lehigh continues a two-game road trip at Holy Cross on Jan. 29. Both games can be heard on WLVR FM and Lehighsports.com with pregame coverage beginning 15 minutes prior to tip with Matt Markus.