Posted: December 21, 2007
VESTAL, N.Y. – The Mountain Hawks pulled off a thrilling 68-67, double overtime victory over Binghamton on Friday night. Alex Ross led Lehigh with 17 points, including five three-pointers, three of which came in the second overtime. Tricia Smith also had 17 points for Lehigh and Haly Crites chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds. With the win the Brown and White improve to 5-6, while the Bearcats fall to 2-9 on the year.
“We sure didn’t make it easy, but I give our kids a lot of credit the way they came back in the second overtime,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “This was an important game for us in terms of momentum heading into the second half of the season. There is a huge difference between 5-6 and 4-7.”
Lehigh was slow out of the gate in the first half, going six and a half minutes with a basket, before Melissa Rich put the Mountain Hawks on the board at the 13:32 mark. The Bearcats, who also struggled to find the basket early, took a nine point lead with 6:50 to play.
The Mountain Hawks fought their way back and took their first lead of the game on a great play by Crites. The junior found the rebound off an errant three-point attempt by Kaela Pearce and put it back with just two second left on the shot clock, for a 20-18 lead with 0:56 left.
Lehigh would add three more points on Courtney Dentler’s first career three-pointer, with nine seconds remaining, to take a 23-18 lead at halftime. Dentler led all scorers with six points at the half.
Binghamton closed the gap in the second half, taking the lead back on a three-pointer by Laura Sario. The teams battled back and forth for the rest half, with Lehigh taking a five point lead with 2:09 to play. The Bearcats came back to tie the game with five straight free throws to send the game into the first overtime.
Tricia Smith dominated the first overtime for Lehigh, scoring all five of the Mountain Hawks points, while Sario did the same for Binghamton.
Binghamton gained control at the beginning of the second overtime, scoring the first five points and it seemed as if the Bearcats were destined to win the game. However, Ross was determined to not let that happen, as she sank three straight three-pointers to bring Lehigh back from an eight point deficit with a little over two minutes to play.
The Mountain Hawks sank a couple of free throws late to seal the deal, for their fifth win of the year.
“My shots weren’t falling early but they started to feel great late and I just kept hitting them,” said Ross.
Lehigh shot .369 for the game, but hit 50% of its shots in overtime, including three-of-four from three-point range.
Laine Kurpniece paced the Bearcats with 22 points, with 14 points coming in the second half. Sario ended the game with a double-double, scoring 18 points and adding 11 rebounds. The Bearcats shot .380 for the game, but sank an impressive 26-of-35 free throws.
The Mountain Hawks will be back in action next weekend when they host the Christmas City Classic. Rhode Island and Stony Brook will tip-off the tournament at 1 p.m., followed by Lehigh and Brown at 3:30 p.m. Fans can watch all four tournament games on-line at Lehighsports.com.