Posted: November 18, 2005
PHILADELPHIA – Lehigh had several opportunities to close the door late, but the host Penn Quakers proved their resiliency, as Penn rallied from an 11-point second half deficit to top Lehigh by a 76-73 score in overtime at the Palestra on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Penn jumped out early, building a seven-point first half advantage. Lehigh responded, thanks to the hot hand of junior Adrienne Blount and the smooth touch at the free-throw line of sophomore Kaela Pearce. Both Blount and Pearce scored eight points in helping Lehigh erase the deficit and forge a 33-30 halftime advantage.
Senior Jenny Callan pulled down seven first half rebounds, and ten of the eleven Mountain Hawks on the trip hit the floor over the game’s first 20 minutes.
Leading by three at the break, the Mountain Hawks used clutch shooting and a tough defense to build an 11-point bulge with 9:04 remaining. Penn rallied, and tied the game late, forcing the extra session.
In overtime, missed free throws and turnovers proved to be the difference, as the Mountain Hawks fell. Lehigh turned the ball over at three critical junctures late in the extra session to seal its own fate. Lehigh was just four-of-eight from the free throw line in the extra session.
“This is a disappointing loss,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan following the game. “We didn’t handle the lead well, and this will have to be a learning lesson for us.”
The tough setback offset an impressive night statistically for several Lehigh players. Blount finished with a career high 18 points and eight rebounds. Sara Ellis, the Patriot League preseason player of the year, scored 20. Junior Emily Geosits knocked down three three-pointers en route to a 13-point night. Jenny Callan pulled down nine rebounds on the night for Lehigh.
Penn’s Joey Rhoads led all scorers with 26 points. She connected on six-of-ten three-point tries.
Lehigh out-rebounded Penn 40-35, but the Mountain Hawks committed 20 turnovers.
Lehigh returns to the court on Sunday, as the Mountain Hawks hit the hardwood for their home opener against Brown. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:05 pm, and the game will be broadcast live on Service Electric 2 Sports, WLVR-FM (91.3), and lehighsports.com. The video and audio feed on the web is powered by Yahoo! Sports.
Tickets for Lehigh-Brown can be purchased at the Stabler Arena box office on gameday.