Posted: December 5, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks played their first home game in almost a month, but they couldn't build on the momentum of the home town crowd as they lost to Long Island 53-49 Wednesday night. Erica Prosser made the most of her first career start, scoring a career high 19 points, but it was the Blackbirds Valerie Nainima who stole the show, scoring 15 points to go along with seven rebounds to secure the win. The loss drops Lehigh’s record to 2-5, while LIU improves to 7-2 on the year.
“We really need to minimize our lapses on offense and defense,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “Against a good team like Long Island you can’t have those two to three minute lapses like we’ve been having. If we continue to eliminate them we should be in good shape.”
Lehigh played its finest first half of basketball all season, shooting .407 from the field and a perfect two-for-two from three point range. Despite the great shooting, the Mountain Hawks still found themselves trailing by as much as six points with just 3:21 remaining in the half. Haly Crites scored two of her six points in the half, to cut the lead down to four with just under three minutes to play.
Lehigh was able to cut the deficit down to one point when Kristen Dalton made a great play to steal the ball from Mikaelar Whippy and found Prosser streaking down court, who was able to put in the lay-up while getting fouled. Prosser hit her free throw to complete the three point play and put Lehigh down by just one point with 1:35 to play. Prosser made two more baskets with under a minute to play, and the Mountain Hawks went into half leading 25-22.
“In the first half we executed well and had some great looks and took advantage of them,” said Troyan. “I thought the team responded well going into the halftime with the lead.”
Valerie Nainima led the Blackbirds with 11 points, coming off three-of-six shooting from three-point range. LIU shot .321 from the field and .444 from beyond the arc.
The Mountain Hawks could not continue their shooting success in the second half, as they shot just .290 and only .143 from three-point range. While Lehigh struggled to find its shot, the Blackbirds found their stroke, shooting .400 and hit all eight of their free throw attempts, including four in the final 15 seconds.
The Brown and White had a couple of chances late to tie the game, but it seemed as if LIU could not miss, as it held on for the win.
Alex Ross added 10 points for Lehigh, who has now lost five of its last six games at Stabler dating back to last season. Haly Crites contributed with a season high eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Nainima was three-for-nine shooting from three-point range and Chelsi Johnson also had three three-pointers for the Blackbirds, who shot .389 from beyond the arc for the game. Johnson added a game high nine rebounds and two steals.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday when it hosts NJIT at Stabler Arena at 3:30 p.m. The game can be heard live in the Lehigh Valley on 91.3 WLVR-FM and around the world on Lehighsports.com.