BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomore Hilary Weaver had a career-high 20 points as the Lehigh women’s basketball team (8-7, 1-0 PL) won its Patriot League opener defeating Holy Cross (8-7, 0-1 PL) 75-60 on Saturday. Weaver was one of three Mountain Hawks in double figures as senior Alexa Williams added 14 points and eight rebounds while senior Aly Byorick had 11 points.
"It was one of our best and most complete games on both ends of the floor," said head coach Sue Troyan. "Hilary played a tremendous game, one of her best. A lot of people stepped up on the offensive end, but she had a special game. I thought we also did a good job defensively in the second half contesting their perimeter looks and keeping them off balance."
Lehigh shot a season high 47.4 percent (27-for-57) for the game including a scorching 60 percent (15-for-25) in the second half. The Mountain Hawks also shot a season high 54 percent (7-for-13) from behind the arc. Holy Cross shot 39 percent (24-for-62) from the field including 40 percent (8-for-20) from behind the arc.
The Mountain Hawks went 14-for-15 from the free-throw line including 13-for-13 in the second half while the Crusaders finished the game 4-for-10 from the charity stripe. Lehigh also held the advantage on the glass, outrebounding Holy Cross 39-32. Both teams had 15 turnovers as Holy Cross had 20 assists while Lehigh had 18, 11 coming in the second half.
Lehigh also did a good job of pushing the ball as the Mountain Hawks outscored the Crusaders 17-8 in fast break points.
Lehigh got off to a slow start as the Mountain Hawks managed just one field goal through the game’s first four minutes. Trailing 5-2 with 15:42 left, Lehigh then went on a 4-0 run to take its first lead of the game. The teams then exchanged baskets until Holy Cross slowly pulled away using an 8-0 to take a 20-11 lead with 10:19 to go.
The Mountain Hawks came right back with a 7-0 over a two minute span thanks to a three-pointer from Byorick, a jumper from Weaver and a layup from freshman Katie O’Reilly as Lehigh trailed 21-19 with 7:29 left. The Crusaders extended their lead back up to six with five minutes to go but again Lehigh hung right in, going on a 7-2 run to end the half as the Mountain Hawks trailed 30-29 at halftime.
Lehigh shot 37.5 percent from the field including 57 percent from behind the arc while Holy Cross shot 39 percent from the field and 31 percent from three. Six Mountain Hawks scored in the opening 20 minutes led by Weaver’s 12 points while Byorick and Williams both added five points.
Lehigh held the slight edge on the glass 20-19 while the teams combined for just six free-throw attempts – Lehigh was 1-for-2, Holy Cross was 2-for-4.
The teams traded baskets for most of the beginning of the second half. Lehigh had a 44-43 lead with 14:46 left and then freshman Sarah Williams scored five points in 46 seconds. After Holy Cross scored, Lehigh went on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 56-45 lead with 10:52 to go.
Holy Cross then went on a run of its own as Lehigh was clinging on to a 61-55 lead with 6:58 left. But Weaver scored four straight points to give the Mountain Hawks some breathing room as they never looked back, going on a 10-2 run to end the game.
Weaver’s 20 points came on 7-for-9 shooting including 2-for-2 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Her previous career high was 13 points, which she put up against Monmouth on November 25th.
Amy Lepley led the way for Holy Cross with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Alex Smith added 11 points and seven assists.
Lehigh is now off to a 1-0 Patriot League start for the first time since the 2008-09 season as the Mountain Hawks improved to 14-37 all-time against Holy Cross. The win was also Lehigh’s eighth straight over the Crusaders.
Saturday’s game marked the final of a six-game home stand for Lehigh in which they went 5-1.
The Mountain Hawks will now hit the road to take on American Wednesday at 7 p.m.