Posted: January 30, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks won their 10th game in 12 tries, with a 59-53 victory over Bucknell, Wednesday night at Stabler Arena. Lehigh received an all around team effort, with four players reaching double figures, led by Alex Ross with a team high 18 points. Claire Sullivan added a season high 10 points and seven assists. Hope Foster led the Bison with 20 points and seven rebounds. The Brown and White improve to 13-8 (5-1) with the win, while Bucknell falls to 8-12 (3-3).
“It wasn’t our best effort; we had some injuries to deal with all week, but we found a way to win,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “It was kind of ugly, but we got the big stops we needed to win the game. I thought Claire [Sullivan] played a tremendous game and really did a nice job of getting our offense going.”
The Mountain Hawks got on the board just eight seconds into the game, on a Kaela Pearce fast-break lay-up to take an early 2-0 lead. Bucknell responded back with five straight points, taking a 5-2 lead at the 18:37 mark.
The teams battled back and forth over the next 10 minutes, with Lehigh tying the game at 19-19 on a Claire Sullivan jumper. Bucknell answered by going on an 8-2 run, taking its largest lead of the half at 27-21, with 5:11 to play.
Lehigh answered with a 12-4 run of their own, capped off by a Sullivan lay-up to take a 33-31 lead at halftime. Despite the halftime lead, the Bison out-shot Lehigh, 58.3 percent to 37.5 percent.
In the second half, Bucknell kept it close, but the Brown and White started to pull away, when Pearce knocked down a three-pointer with 6:23 to play, giving Lehigh a 50-44 lead. The Bison cut their deficit to three points, 56-53, on a jumper by Kesha Champion with 1:57 to play.
The Mountain Hawks received a pair of free throws from Sullivan with 38 second remaining, to seal the game, for a 59-53 victory.
“We really focused on being aggressive, and I was fortunate that my shots kept falling,” said Sullivan. “We knew they were going to be aggressive and the only way you can beat that, is by going to the basket and that’s what I tried to do.”
Lehigh’s shooting did not improve in the second half, hitting just 8-of-27 shots, but it held the Bison to 36.4 percent shooting. Lehigh cleaned up on the glass, out-rebounding Bucknell 38-31, including 17-7 on the offensive end.
Erica Prosser and Pearce each added 11 points, and Tricia Smith had a game high eight rebounds. Prosser and Sullivan each added three steals, with all three of Sullivan’s coming in the second half.
Lauren Schober and Champion chipped in with 10 points each for Bucknell. Foster also added a game high three blocks, becoming the Patriot League’s all-time leader in blocked shots, with 312 for her career.
The Mountain Hawks will be back in action on Saturday, when they host Holy Cross, at 1 p.m. The game will air live on Service Electric 2 Sports, as well as 91.3 WLVR-FM and Lehighsports.com, with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports.