WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team (14-9, 4-4) won its third consecutive game in a thrilling 57-46 victory over American on Saturday afternoon. Despite blowing a nine point lead late in the game, the Mountain Hawks finished the game with a 15-4 run. Senior Erica Prosser had a career-high 29 points for the Mountain Hawks.
“I think the girls really showed a lot of composure out there today,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. “They made a big run at us late, and we answered back by making a big run right back at them.”
Prosser continued her storybook career as she netted a career-high 29 points, which included a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Most importantly, Lehigh shot 16-of-16 from the charity stripe, a spot in which the team has struggled at all season. Junior Alexa Williams was dominant on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
“What’s most important is the confidence this gives our team,” said Troyan. “It’s all about confidence. Wins at Holy Cross and this game were huge steps in the right direction.”
The game itself got off to a sloppy start, featuring missed layups and four jump balls within the first four minutes. American headed into the media timeout with a 4-2 lead. Only six more total points were scored by the second media timeout. The Eagles led 8-4 with 11:30 remaining. Prosser and Byorick had the lone field goals at that point for the Mountain Hawks at that point.
With the score 10-6 in favor of American, Lehigh began to heat up, as Prosser scored the next five points on free throws and a step-back three pointer. Following a field goal by the Eagles, Denlter drove the lane and converted a layup. She was fouled and made the ensuing free throw to give the Mountain Hawks a 14-12 lead.
Lehigh then increased its lead to three heading into the final media timeout after sophomore Becky Guman converted on two free throws and Williams scored on a put back layup. The Mountain Hawks had an 18-15 lead with 3:55 to go in the first half. Guman continued to be effective in the first half as she hit a mid-range baseline jumper followed by a Prosser field goal. Lehigh entered halftime with a 22-21 lead over American.
The Mountain Hawks came out with some fire in the second half. Williams kicked off the half with a steal and a fast break layup. Prosser then hit a three on the break to give the Mountain Hawks a mini 5-0 run to start the half. American’s Liz Leer hit two field goals, but Guman and Prosser answered back on both of them, as the Mountain Hawks had a 31-25 lead with 14:49 to go.
Lehigh then increased its lead to nine, as Dentler converted on a cut to the basket layup. Prosser then made three consecutive free throws to give the Mountain Hawks a 36-27 lead with 12:10 remaining in the game. Then, with Lehigh leading 40-30, American went on a 9-0 run, with eight of the points coming from Nicole Ryan. Guman ended the run when she made a backdoor cut and senior Kristen Dalton hit her with a nice feed pass. Guman converted on the layup and gave the Mountain Hawks a 42-39 lead.
Coming out of the media timeout though, American hit a three to tie the game up at 42 with 6:10 remaining. Prosser continued her stellar shooting from the free throw line as she made two more free throws to regain the lead for the Mountain Hawks. Then on the ensuing possession, Prosser hit Byorick at the top of the key off an inbound pass. Byorick drained the three to give Lehigh a five point lead. Prosser then hit two more free throws to up the lead to 49-42 with 3:18 remaining.
After Ryan made two free throws for American, Prosser continued her dominance. With eight seconds remaining on the shot clock, Lehigh went isolation and Prosser beat the buzzer as she drove the lane to make a layup. Junior Emily Gratch then forced a steal and Prosser picked it up and took it all the way to give Lehigh a 53-44 lead. Ryan got two of those points back with 1:37 reamaining and American called a timeout. Prosser scored the final four points to give Lehigh the 57-46 win.
For the game, Lehigh shot 34.5 percent from the field, while American shot just 29.4 percent. The Mountain Hawks also won the battle of the boards, 45-32.
Lehigh will play host to the Navy Midshipmen on Feb. 9 at Stabler Arena at 7 p.m. Both games can be heard on WLVR FM and Lehighsports.com with pregame coverage beginning 15 minutes prior to tip with Matt Markus. Tickets are on sale and may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (610) 7LU-GAME.