BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women’s basketball team put together a solid overall effort in defeating a strong Robert Morris squad, 68-54, on Saturday afternoon in Stabler Arena. The win marked the Mountain Hawks’ fourth in a row, all coming in the last eight days as they enter a 19-day layoff at 6-6 on the season. Senior Alexa Williams led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds, good for her third double-double of the season.
“They’re playing well,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. “Give the kids credit because this is probably the toughest academic week of the semester, heading into finals where they’re finishing up all their classes. I’m pleased with how they performed. Obviously our home schedule helped us as well, getting on a bit of a roll being on our home court.”
Senior Emily Gratch finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while freshman Katie O’Reilly posted 10 points and seven boards. Williams did most of her damage from the free throw line as she knocked down 12-of-14 from the charity stripe, just one short of the single-game school record for made free throws and four shy of the record for attempts.
Down 29-28 with 5:38 remaining in the first half, Lehigh went on a 13-5 surge the rest of the half, and extended the lead in the second to pull away from a Robert Morris squad off to its best start in school history and ranked 24th in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25.
The teams went back and forth in the early going with neither side holding more than a four-point lead over the game’s first 15 minutes. Williams was the story in the first half, netting 13 points after 20 minutes, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
Down by one with 5:31 to play in the first, the Mountain Hawks scored 13 of the final 18 points, which included seven from Williams and four from Gratch. Lehigh went into the locker room up 41-34, its most points in a half this season.
Peterson knocked down a pair of threes in the first 1:31 of the second to help Lehigh open its first double-digit lead at 47-37, but Robert Morris wouldn’t quit as the Colonials slowly inched closer. Robert Morris got as close as 51-49 with 8:54 remaining in the second, but Lehigh staged a 17-3 run to erase any doubt. O’Reilly racked up five of her 10 points in that span while Weaver also added six, all from the free throw line.
Freshman Sarah Williams impressed off the bench, scoring four points while dishing a career-high four assists. O’Reilly finished with three assists to tie a career high.
Lehigh shot 41 percent from the field (19-of-46) and 27 percent from three-point range (3-of-11). Robert Morris finished at 28 percent from the field (21-of-75) and 18 percent from long range (6-of-33). The Mountain Hawks won the battle of the boards, 48-38; 21 of Robert Morris’ 38 boards came on the offensive end.
The Mountain Hawks now enjoy a 19-day layoff before hosting the Christmas City Classic on December 29 and 30. Lehigh will host Atlantic 10 foes Rhode Island and Richmond, with both game times set for 7:30 p.m. James Madison will also take part in the tournament.
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.