Posted: March 3, 2005
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh senior captain Jessica DePalo tipped in a missed shot with 0.4 seconds remaining in the game to lift her team to a dramatic 54-52 victory over visiting Bucknell in the opening round of the Patriot League women’s basketball tournament at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena on Thursday night.
The victory propels the second seeded Mountain Hawks into the semifinal round, where Lehigh will take on No. 6 Colgate.
The No. 7 Bison end their season with a 10-18 record.
“This wasn’t our best effort tonight,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan after her team rallied for the win. “”You’ve got to give our kids credit, though. We kept ourselves in it long enough to give ourselves a chance to win.”
In the first half, Lehigh struggled to shoot the basketball, but a strong rebounding effort kept the Mountain Hawks in it. Lehigh shot just 31% over the first 20 minutes, but the Mountain Hawks dominated the glass, pulling down 28 first-half rebounds to the Bison’s 18.
Lehigh’s DePalo led all scorers over the first 20 minutes with 11 points and seven rebounds.
In the second half, the Bison built a 45-40 lead on two Kesha Champion’s free throws with remaining. Lehigh rallied to tie the score late, and then took a 52-49 lead after a Sara Ellis three-pointer with 43 seconds to play.
Bucknell’s Brooke Tomovich hit a three of her own to tie the score with 31 seconds left.
In the game’s final possession, Ellis drove to the basket, but her shot fell off. DePalo tried to put it back in, but her attempt missed. She got her own rebound and put in the apparent game-winner as time expired. The officials went to the television monitor, and eventually determined there was 0.4 seconds remaining.
Bucknell inbounded the basketball, but did not get a shot off.
DePalo led all Lehigh players with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Jenny Callan added 15 points and 12 boards in the win. The Mountain Hawks out-rebounded the Bison 45-34.
Bucknell’s Lindsey Hollobaugh scored a game-high 23 in a losing effort.
Lehigh (19-9) advances to the semifinal round on Saturday, where the Mountain Hawks will take on Colgate. Earlier Thursday, the Raiders let a 26-point second half slip away, but held on for a 78-75 win over No. 3 Army.
The Lehigh-Colgate game Saturday will get underway at inside Lehigh’s Stabler Arena. Tickets can be purchased at the Stabler Arena box office on gameday.
Photo (c) 2005, Lehigh Athletics/Chris Christian.