Posted: January 19, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks won their fifth straight game, with a 59-57 overtime win over Army on Saturday night. Alex Ross had a game high 17 points, tying her career high with five three-pointers, and scored five of Lehigh’s seven points in overtime. Tricia Smith and Melissa Rich each added 10 points. Cara Enright and Megan Evans paced the Black Knights with 14 points apiece. The win improves Lehigh’s record to 11-7 (3-0) while Army falls to 11-7 (2-1). The Brown and White now hold a half game lead over Bucknell for first place in the Patriot League, as the Bison play Holy Cross on Sunday.
“We played great half court defense all game did not allow Army to get into any rhythm offensively,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “That Binghamton [double overtime win] really gave our kids a lot of confidence in these close games and they just don’t seem to get frazzled.”
The first half had five different score changes, and it was Lehigh who had a 29-23 lead going into the break. The Mountain Hawks seemed as if they could not miss shots, knocking down a season high 52.2% from the field and three-of-five from beyond the arc.
Lehigh increased its lead to seven points to start the second half, but the Black Knights fought their way back and tied the game at 34-34 on a pair of free throws by Stefanie Stone. Army continued to shoot hot halfway through the half, increasing its lead to 43-38 with 8:33 to play.
The Mountain Hawks found their way back into the game on a couple of key defensive plays by Courtney Dentler and Haly Crites, trailing by just one point, 47-46, with 4:21 remaining. Army would not let Lehigh stay close for long, increasing its lead back to four points, until Smith hit a momentum changing three-pointer at the 1:29 mark, to cut Lehigh’s deficit to 52-51.
The Brown and White tied the game with 51 seconds left, when Rich hit the backend of her free throw attempts. Lehigh had one last chance to win the game in regulation, but Dentler’s jumper just rimmed out with six seconds remaining.
Army outscored Lehigh 29-23 in the second half and held the Mountain Hawks to 34.8% shooting from the field.
In overtime, Ross took over, hitting a three-pointer less than a minute into the period, and then a jumper in the paint at the 3:19 mark to give Lehigh a 57-54 lead. Army came back to tie the game at 57-57 with 1:27 remaining, on a jump shot by Evans.
Both teams traded missed shots, and on Lehigh’s next possession, Rich was fouled by Stone, sending her to the line with five seconds left. Rich sank both of her attempts to give the Mountain Hawks a 59-57 lead. Army had one last chance, but Nalini Hawkins’ shot was no good, giving the Brown and White its 11th win of the season.
“We played a good team game offensively and defensively,” said Ross. “Everyone was finding ways to score; it was just an awesome team effort.”
Lehigh ended the game with a 42.3% shooting percentage, including 50% from three-point range, while holding the Black Knights to just 36.4%.
Smith added four assists, four steals and seven rebounds to go along with her 10 points, and Crites recorded three blocks for the fifth time this season.
Lehigh will be back in action on Wednesday, when it travels to Colgate for a 7 p.m. game in Hamilton, N.Y. The game can be heard live in the Lehigh Valley on 91.3 WLVR-FM and around the world on Lehighsports.com, with Steve Lomangino calling the action.