BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women’s basketball team quickly opened a double-digit lead and wouldn’t look back as the Mountain Hawks cruised to a 60-40 Senior Night win over archrival Lafayette Saturday evening in Stabler Arena. Senior Becky Guman had 14 points and nine rebounds in a Senior Night to remember while freshman Kerry Kinek added 16 points and eight boards. The win gives Lehigh its fourth in a row as the Mountain Hawks move into a fourth-place tie with American heading into the final week of the regular season.
“We’re starting to play well and play with a lot of confidence,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. “It was a little ugly at times tonight. We got out strong. Becky was obviously tremendous and got us off to a good start. I thought we played really well on both ends of the floor. Our defense was really tremendous, keeping their big kids off balance and not allowing them to do the things they wanted to do.”
Seniors Guman, Kelly Peterson, Marybeth Egan and Sarah Pearce were recognized prior to their final regular season home game in Stabler Arena.
“The offense is coming along, which has been one of the reasons for our success in this run the last couple weeks,” said Troyan. “It suits our personnel a lot better than what we were doing before; the kids are getting comfortable with it. We still have a lot of areas we can get better at, but tonight was a good stepping stone.”
Lehigh used an early 14-2 run to open a 16-4 lead. Lafayette pulled within eight on multiple occasions, but the Mountain Hawks extended the lead back to double figures late in the first half and wouldn’t look back.
The win marks the Mountain Hawks’ 11th in their last 13 tries against Lafayette, beating the Leopards for a third straight time at home.
A Guman layup with 16:58 left in the first half broke a 2-2 tie and propelled Lehigh on a 14-2 run capped off by an Alexandra Yantzi jumper with 12:30 on the clock. That made it 16-4, forcing the Leopards to call timeout.
Lafayette battled back within eight on multiple occasions through the middle stages. Then with Lehigh up 22-14, the Mountain Hawks scored seven of the final nine first-half points as two Kinek free throws made it 29-16 following 20 minutes of play.
Lehigh shot 42 percent in the first half (10-of-24) and 25 percent from long range (1-of-4). Lafayette came in at 24 percent (7-of-29) while missing all four of its three-point attempts. The Mountain Hawks held a 20-15 rebounding edge in the first stanza.
The Mountain Hawks began the second half on runs of 9-2 and 15-4 to take a 44-19 lead following a Katie O’Reilly fastbreak layup with 12:58 on the clock. The lead swelled to 26, their largest of the game, following a Kinek layup with 10:39 remaining.
Lafayette wouldn’t go away, pulling as close as 16. An Emily Hooman layup made it 52-36, but Lehigh had an answer, scoring four of the game’s final five points to reopen for the 60-40 victory.
The Mountain Hawks finished at 37 percent from the field (19-of-52) and 22 percent from three-point range (2-of-9). Lafayette shot 23 percent (15-of-65) and six perfect from long range (1-of-17). Lehigh held a 47-40 edge on the glass.
The Mountain Hawks wrap up the regular season with a pair of road games this week: at Navy Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Army Saturday (1 p.m.)
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