VILLANOVA, Pa. – After ending the first half on an 11-0 run to trim Villanova’s lead to just 11, the Lehigh women’s basketball team fell to the Wildcats on Thursday night by a final score of 66-49. Sophomore Sarah Williams dropped a season-high 14 points, while freshman Kerry Kinek was again in double figures with 10 points, but double-digit treys by Villanova equated to a loss for the Mountain Hawks.
"There were times when I thought we played well, but defensively we didn’t do a great job of closing out their three-point shooters," said head coach Sue Troyan. "Sarah was effective tonight and played a nice game."
The Mountain Hawks started the game with a bucket by Kinek, but after senior Kelly Peterson knocked down a jumper just over three minutes into the contest, the Wildcats used two 7-0 runs to take a 23-7 lead at the 11 minute mark. Lehigh was able to draw two quick first half fouls on Villanova’s leading scorer Laura Sweeney, who came into tonight’s game averaging 15.6 per contest, as the Wildcats went into almost a three-minute scoring drought. During that time the Mountain Hawks were able to trim Nova’s lead to 30-13, but three treys extended the lead back to 22 at 39-17 with 3:42 to play in the first 20 minutes.
From there, Williams caught fire as the momentum began to shift with the Mountain Hawks finishing the half on an 11-0 run, while the Wildcats ended the first 20 minutes on another scoring drought that lasted over four minutes. Williams scored 10 of those 11 points; all coming consecutively that included two treys, while Lehigh’s first half scoring was capped off by a free throw from junior Lindsay Hoskins.
At the break, Williams led all scorers with her 13 first half points, while Kinek and Hoskins pulled down four boards apiece through the first 20 minutes to pace the Mountain Hawk rebounding game. Lehigh shot an efficient 47.8 percent from the field in the first half and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, courtesy of a 3-for-3 effort by Williams from long range.
The score remained an 11-point advantage for the Wildcats to begin the second half after the two teams traded baskets, but an 11-4 run opened up a 19-point lead for Villanova at 55-36 with 11:59 on the clock. After the Wildcats opened up a 23-point advantage with 8:28 to play, three-straight points from Katie O’Reilly followed by a lay-up from freshman Elizabeth Sharlow after Williams found her all alone under the basket off a baseline in-bound pass cut it back down to 61-43 at the 6:26 mark.
"I thought we did a good job of handling the ball and not turning the ball over tonight and that’s been an emphasis for us lately," said Troyan.
Down the final stretch of the game, the Mountain Hawks outscored Villanova 6-5 which included freshman Elizabeth Jordan’s first collegiate points via a three-pointer with 1:30 on the clock to pull the score to 66-48, but as the final horn sounded, Lehigh fell to Villanova 66-49.
The Mountain Hawks shot 39.6 percent from the field for the game and 44.4 percent from three-point land, but 10 treys by the Wildcats proved to be the factor in Villanova’s win. Williams finished the game with a team-best 14 points after a 13-point first half outburst. Kinek narrowly missed another double-double as she ended with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Lehigh will take to the court on Monday, December 3 when it travels to Loyola to take on the Greyhounds in Baltimore, Md. at 7 p.m.