Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh jumped out to a 25-10 lead and never looked back, cruising to an 87-60 win over Navy at Stabler Arena on Saturday. The win improves the Mountain Hawks’ record to 7-3 in the Patriot League (11-12 overall), while the setback drops the Midshipmen to 10-13 overall, and 2-8 in league play.
Two quick three-point baskets from Carli Toliver gave Lehigh a 10-3 lead, just 2:35 into the contest. The Mountain Hawks strong defense held Navy in check, limiting the Midshipmen to just seven first half field goals, and 26% shooting. Meanwhile, led by Toliver, the offense exploded for its biggest first half output of the season, as Lehigh built a 48-21 lead at intermission. The Mountain Hawks managed to get to the free throw line 16 times in the first half, sinking 14 shots.
"The first half was probably the best half of basketball we’ve played all season," said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. "Everything was clicking for us, and in the second half, we didn’t let up."
The second half did in fact see more of the same, as Lehigh pulled away. The Mountain Hawks built a 32 point lead with 6:07 to play on a pair of Toliver free throws, and rolled from there, pulling off the 27 point win.
Toliver paced Lehigh with a career-best 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting from long range, and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. Toliver’s five 3-point baskets also tied a personal best. Junior Anne Tierney recorded another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Tierney has now etched 13 double-doubles on the season, and 8 in 10 Patriot League games. Sophomore Jana Ransom had a solid night, contributing 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Ransom added two blocked shots and two steals in the win.
"We played very well tonight," said Carli Toliver on the radio post-game show. "We were hitting our shots, and we handled their pressure well."
Every Mountain Hawk that played got on the scoreboard, as Lehigh shot a season-best 49% from the floor. Lehigh was 20-24 (83%) from the foul line. On the other end of the floor, Lehigh forced 15 turnovers and controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Mids 47-33 on the night. The 87 points scored by Lehigh was the most points it has scored in a game all season.
The win kept Lehigh one game behind Holy Cross and Bucknell in the Patriot League standings, as they both won on the road on Saturday. Lehigh travels to Worcester, Massachusetts to take on the Holy Cross Crusaders on Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 from the Hart Center.
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