Posted: December 29, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks advanced to their fourth straight Christmas City Classic championship game, with a 68-38 win over Brown on Saturday. Kaela Pearce led Lehigh, setting new career highs in points and assists, with 20 and seven respectively. Courtney Dentler also chipped in with career highs in points (seven) and rebounds (10). Lehigh improves 6-6 on the year, and improves to .500 for the first time since the second game of the season. With the loss, Brown falls to 1-10 on the year.
“Kaela had a tremendous game and a lot of people stepped up in different areas,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “Courtney also had a great game and it was just a terrific all-around team effort.”
Lehigh got off to a quick start in the first half, outscoring the Bears 12-4 in the first seven minutes. Brown quickly jumped back in the game with five points from Annesley O’Neal, coming off a three-pointer and two jump shots, to cut the deficit to six points with 9:54 to play.
The Mountain Hawks responded fiercely, outscoring Brown 13-3 over the next six minutes, to take a 35-18 lead with 3:09 in the first half. Lehigh added a couple of points late, to take a 42-22 at halftime.
Pearce led all scores at the half with 11 points, coming off three-of-four shooting from three-point range. Haly Crites and Melissa Rich added eight points each and Dentler surpassed her career high with seven points in the half. The Brown and White shot .467 from the field, compared to just .296 for the Bears.
O’Neal led Brown in the half, with nine points, shooting a perfect four-for-four from the field and knocking down her only three-point attempt.
The Mountain Hawks controlled the game in the second half, holding the Bears to just 16 points and a .182 shooting percentage. The 30 point margin of victory was the largest for Lehigh since the 2004-05 season when the Mountain Hawks defeated Lafayette by 31 points.
Pearce scored nine of her 17 points and had four assists in the second half.
“I seemed to have the ball in my hands more tonight and I just kept my head up,” said Pearce of her career high seven assists.
Claire Sullivan ended the game with six assists, giving her 303 for her career, moving her into sixth place on the all-time list at Lehigh.
Rich ended the game with 10 points and four rebounds. It was Rich’s fourth straight game in double digits, as she continues to heat up as the Mountain Hawks head towards league play.
The Bears had three players in double digits with O’Neal and Jaclyn Goldbarg each scoring 11. Christina Johnson had 10 points and shot a team best five-of-nine from the field.
Earlier in the day Rhode Island narrowly edged out Stony Brook, 66-65, to advance to the championship game to face Lehigh. The Rams had three players in double figures, led by Safi Mojidi with 12 points. Kristen Jeter led the Seawolves with 12 points and four rebounds.
Lehigh will return to action tomorrow when they play Rhode Island in the championship game of the Christmas City Classic. The game will start at 3:30 p.m., following the consolation game between Stony Brook and Brown. Both of Sunday's games can be seen live on-line at Lehighsports.com with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports.