Posted: December 30, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh was unable to hold on to a seven point lead with five minutes to play in the second half, as the Mountain Hawks dropped a 66-58 overtime decision to New Hampshire in the championship game of the ninth annual Christmas City Classic at Stabler Arena on Friday night. Tournament MVP Danielle Clark scored 14 points for the Wildcats including six in overtime, leading to the win.
The victory was New Hampshire’s second straight overtime triumph, improving the Wildcats’ record to 8-2 on the season. Lehigh dropped to 4-7 on the season, as the Mountain Hawks had their two-game winning streak snapped.
The first half was not very pretty, as UNH took a 20-18 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats shot just 30% from the floor in the first half, and Lehigh connected on just 29% of its attempts over the first 20 minutes.
Both teams did a better job of shooting the basketball in the second half of play, and Lehigh dominated on the glass. However, the Mountain Hawks were unable to pull away, and the Wildcats erased a six point Lehigh lead in the final 50 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
In the extra session, two quick three pointers from New Hampshire, including one from Clark, helped the Wildcats pull away. The eight point margin of victory marked UNH’s largest lead of the night.
Lehigh shot just 32% for the night, and the Mountain Hawks turned the ball over a season-high 26 times. Despite the fact that Lehigh controlled a 52-30 rebounding edge for the night, the poor shooting and costly turnovers proved too much to overcome.
All-tournament selections Sara Ellis (17 points Friday) and Jenny Callan (16 points, 16 rebounds) paced Lehigh. Callan’s double-double was her sixth in a row, and seventh in the last eight games. Junior Adrienne Blount added eleven points and nine rebounds.
All-tournament selection Whitney Edwards scored a game-high 19 points for New Hampshire.
Friday’s game marked Lehigh’s sixth trip to the Classic championship game, but Lehigh has won the title only once (2000). In the consolation game, Towson upended Fairfield, 75-57.
Lehigh returns to action on Monday, January 2, when the Mountain Hawks visit Yale. Game time is set for 7:00 pm from New Haven, Conn. Radio coverage on WLVR-FM and lehighsports.com gets underway at 6:45.
2005 Christmas City Classic All-Tournament Team
Jamell Beasley, Towson
Sabra Wrice, Fairfield
Jenny Callan, Lehigh
Sara Ellis, Lehigh
Whitney Edwards, New Hampshire
Danielle Clark, New Hampshire (MVP)