BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Junior Kelly Peterson hit a three-pointer from the right wing as time expired to send the game into overtime but Lehigh was unable to take advantage as the Mountain Hawks (2-6) fell 62-54 to Villanova (5-2) Wednesday for Education Day. Junior Sarah Pearce led the way tying a career-high 13 points for Lehigh while senior Alexa Williams added eight points and 13 rebounds.
Lehigh vs. Villanova - Education Day
“I was really proud of our team today,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “They played with tremendous effort and hustle throughout the whole game. We did a great job of executing down the stretch to get the game into overtime, but we just ran out of gas at the end.”
Lehigh trailed by as many as nine points with 4:50 to go in the game but went on a 10-3 run over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to 49-47 with 34 seconds left. After Villanova hit a pair of free throws to extend its lead back up to four, Williams converted a layup on the other end as the Mountain Hawks then trialed 51-49 with 19 seconds remaining.
After Villanova hit one of two free throws, Peterson dribbled at the top of the key trying to create space and with time winding down, swished a three right in front of Lehigh’s bench to tie the game.
In the overtime period, however, the Mountain Hawks went 0-for-6 from the field as Villanova outscored Lehigh 10-2.
For the game, Lehigh shot 39 percent from the field, its highest percentage of the season. The Mountain Hawks were 4-for-14 from behind the arc and 2-for-4 from the charity stripe. Villanova, which entered the game shooting 41 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three were held to 31 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively. The Wildcats were 14-for-17 from the free-throw line.
The teams exchanged points for a majority of the first half as there were 12 lead changes and three ties in the opening 20 minutes.
Lehigh’s largest lead in the first half was three when senior Kalela Blake made a layup to put the Mountain Hawks up 10-7 with 14:06 to go. Lehigh again had a three-point lead with 5:26 left when freshman Sarah Williams hit a jumper from the wing. Holding a two point lead with 2:04 to go, Villanova went on an 8-0 run which included a pair of three pointers to end the half as Lehigh trailed 30-24 at the break.
Lehigh shot 42 percent in the first half while Villanova shot 33 percent. Pearce led all scorers with 11 points on 5-for-5 from the field while Blake had four points and three rebounds.
The difference at the half was the Wildcats’ 6-for-17 from behind the arc while Lehigh was 2-for-7.
Lehigh went on a 4-0 run to start the second half thanks to layups from freshman Katie O’Reilly and Alexa Williams as Lehigh trailed 30-28 with 16:27 left.
Villanova responded with a couple baskets of its own but sophomore Hilary Weaver hit a three from the right corner and Alexa Williams made a layup to give the Mountain Hawks its first lead of the second half at 35-34 with 10:10 to go.
The Wildcats then went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead 39-35 with 8:52 left and continued to extend its lead with a 7-2 run as Lehigh trailed by nine points with 4:50 to go in the game.
Lehigh then went on a 6-0 run over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to 46-43 with 2:44 left. Villanova then extended its lead to six with 1:28 to go after a three-point basket.
The Mountain Hawks showed no letdown however as junior Becky Guman’s layup cut the deficit to four and 30 seconds later, Sarah Williams converted a layup as Lehigh then trailed 49-46 with 34 seconds left.
After Villanova hit a pair of free throws, Alexa Williams made a layup on the other end with 19 seconds left. After Villanova hit one of two free throws, Peterson then sent the game to overtime with her heroics.
Lehigh took a two point lead at the start of overtime in a pair of free throws by Alexa Williams, but Villanova scored the final 10 points as Lehigh was unable to find an answer.
Pearce’s 13 points came on 6-for-9 shooting while Williams grabbed double-digit rebounds for the third time this season. Weaver also added eight points and three assists while Peterson finished with seven points and Sarah Williams had six.
Villanova was paced by Laura Sweeney with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
The Mountain Hawks played in front of their largest crowd of the season as 3,246 fans packed in Stabler Arena. As part of Education Day, prior to the game, several athletes from various Lehigh sports spoke to the children in attendance about the importance of being a leader, having respect and getting a good education.
Lehigh will next take the court Saturday when it travels to take on Horizon League opponent Valparaiso at 1:05 p.m.