Posted: February 10, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Four of Lehigh’s starters scored in double-digits against Army on Saturday afternoon, but for the first time all season, four starters in double-figures did not equal a win for the Mountain Hawks as they fell to the Black Knights 77-71 at Stabler Arena. The loss marks an end to Lehigh’s eight-game home winning streak against the Black Knights as well as the first time since the 1993-94 season in which Army (21-4, 8-2) has swept Lehigh (8-16, 3-7). Senior Adrienne Blount led the Mountain Hawks with a season-high tying 18 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Meanwhile, classmate Sara Ellis set a new career-high in assists as she had nine helpers.
“I thought our effort, intensity and competitive level was great tonight,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “It was just down the stretch where we didn’t execute. We had a mental lapse in the last two minutes of the game. You have to give Army credit. They are at the level they are at because they fought back. We held the lead several times and they just kept fighting.”
Continues Troyan, “Army and Bucknell have somewhat separated themselves as the premier teams in the league at this point. If we can play with the confidence like what we did tonight, we can take on anybody. There are four games left in the season and anything could happen.”
Lehigh opened the game with a 7-0 run that was fueled by freshman Alex Ross, who scored the game’s first five points in 56 seconds. Blount’s jumper at 18:17 pushed the Mountain Hawks’ lead to seven, which would be the largest lead of the first half by either team. Army quickly erased the seven-point deficit, going on a 9-0 run to eventually take a two-point lead off a Jen Hansen three-pointer at 15:17.
Blount tied the game at 9-9 off a jumper in the paint and Ellis’ lay-up at 14:06 returned the lead to Lehigh. Blount then sank a pair of free-throws to give Lehigh a 13-9 advantage at the 13:34 mark, but Hanson drained a trey 13 seconds later to bring the Black Knights to within one.
After sophomore Haly Crites’ lay-up at 12:37 gave Lehigh a 15-12 lead, the Black Knights continued to remain within striking distance and eventually took a 20-19 lead off a Courtney Wright lay-up at 7:20. A trey by Cara Enright gave the Black Knights a 25-21 lead at 6:06. However, Army’s four point lead would be its largest of the first half as the Mountain Hawks outscored the Black Knights 13-5 in the last 4:42 to carry a 34-30 lead into halftime.
The Mountain Hawks built a quick 11-point lead early in the second half as Ellis hit a three-pointer at 17:17 to make the score 43-32. However, Army rallied and pulled to within two points off an Enright jumper with 10:28 remaining. Enright then made it a one-point game off a free throw 28 seconds later. Alex McGuire’s foul shots at 9:17 gave the Black Knights their first lead since the first half.
From that point on, the game would remain closely contested as Lehigh and Army battled for control of the lead. Army eventually had a four point lead with just less than nine minutes remaining, but the Mountain Hawks closed the gap. Trailing 55-54, freshman Wendy Szczerbiak drew a foul that gave her two foul shots. Szczerbiak calmly sank both shots to give Lehigh a 56-55 advantage with 7:50 to go. But Army regained the lead when Margaree King grabbed her own offensive rebound and then proceeded to hit a jumper at the 7:21 mark.
Lehigh and Army stayed within one point of each other for the next 50 seconds until Ellis swished a shot from beyond the arc at 6:38 to give Lehigh the 61-59 advantage. The Mountain Hawks increased their lead to four off a lay-up by Rich.
While attempting a three-point shot, Hansen drew a foul at 4:57 that sent her to the line with three shots. Hansen made all three shots and made the score 63-62 in favor of Lehigh. Courtney Wright then gave the Black Knights a one-point lead off a jumper at the 4:17 mark.
One-and-a-half minutes later, Lehigh carried a 69-66 lead when Rich made her foul shot. However, Hansen brought the Black Knights to within one point at 2:32 and then Wright tied the game at 69 all off a foul shot with 2:13 remaining.
Lehigh retook the lead for what would prove to be the final time as Blount grabbed her own rebound and then made a lay-up at the 1:55 mark to make the score 71-69.
However, Army would reel off the game’s final nine points, including five from Hansen, to secure the win.
In addition to Blount, Rich, Ellis and Ross all reached double-digits, with Rich scoring 13 points and Ellis and Ross each netting 11.
Hansen was 8-for-13 from the field, 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line en route to scoring a game-high 26 points. Hansen and Wright each grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Tuesday when they head to Hamilton, N.Y. to take on the Raiders of Colgate. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm from Cotterell Court. Live audio of the game will be broadcast in the Lehigh Valley on WLVR-FM as well as worldwide online at lehighsports.com, with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports.