Worcester, MA – Sophomore Jessica DePalo’s layup with just 1.1 seconds remaining lifted Lehigh to a dramatic 58-56 win over Holy Cross at the Hart Center Friday night. The win pushes the Mountain Hawks (8-10, 5-1 Patriot League) into a first place tie with the Crusaders (12-7 overall, 5-1 in the league). The Lehigh win was the Mountain Hawks’ first-ever victory at the Hart Center, and the victory snapped a 55 game Holy Cross Patriot League regular season winning streak at the venue.
"This was a great win for us tonight," DePalo said on the radio post-game show. "We stayed mentally tough and were focused for the entire 40 minutes."
Lehigh built a nine point advantage with 7:54 left in the first half on a Dawn Gorynski three-point basket. Gorynski finished the night with 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. However, Holy Cross responded to close the gap to two at the half. Lehigh went over seven minutes without a field goal to let the Crusaders to creep back into it.
In the second stanza, the Crusaders built a seven point lead of their own thanks to the strong play of Maggie Fontana, who finished the night with 18 points. Lehigh refused to cave in, and began to chip away. Down 56-52 with a minute and a half left, DePalo converted on a layup underneath to cut the deficit to two. The Mountain Hawks tied the score with less than 17 seconds left as sophomore Chantal St. Laurent hit an off-balance runner in the lane.
Following a defensive stop, Lehigh inbounded the ball with eight seconds left. St. Laurent beat a trap along the sideline in front of the Holy Cross bench and found Gorynski at midcourt. Dawn lobbed the ball to DePalo who was all alone underneath the basket for the game-winner.
Gorynski matched her career best with seven assists, and DePalo established a new career high with 18 points. She also pulled down six rebounds in the win. Anne Tierney added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Teniece Johnson came off the bench and contributed six rebounds and three steals in the victory.
The Mountain Hawks shot 48% from the floor in the win, and were 9-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc. Lehigh held Holy Cross to just 35% shooting for the night, and the Crusaders were just 3-of-17 from long range.
Elsewhere Friday, American defeated Lafayette 69-57, placing the Eagles in a three-way tie with Lehigh and Holy Cross atop the league standings. All three teams are 5-1.
Lehigh returns to action Sunday as the Mountain Hawks visit Colgate. Tip-off is set for 1:00 from Hamilton, New York.