Posted: February 9, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Mountain Hawks lost back-to-back league games for the first time this season, falling 62-49 to American Saturday night. Tricia Smith led Lehigh on offense, with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Erica Prosser added eight points. Liz Leer paced the Eagles with 16 points and Michelle Kirk added 11 points. With the loss, the Brown and White fall to 13-10 (5-3), while the Eagles improve to 11-12 (5-3).
“We dug ourselves into a hole in first half, as we struggled to find the net,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “I give our kids a lot of credit because they fought back and cut the deficit down to three points but we could not stay consistent all night.”
In an uncharacteristic first half, Lehigh allowed American to shoot 52 percent from the floor, while the Mountain Hawks had their poorest shooting half of the year, connecting on just 17.9 percent of their shots. The Brown and White got on the board first on a Smith lay-up, however, the Eagles took over after, going on a 28-7 run, taking its largest of the half, 28-9, with 2:56 to play.
The Mountain Hawks closed the gap slightly to end the half, going on a 7-1 run, as the Eagles had a 26-19 halftime lead. Smith scored 11 of Lehigh’s 16 first half points, while also grabbing a team high four rebounds, and added two blocks and two steals. Prosser scored the other five Lehigh points, and also recorded three steals. The Eagles were led offensively by Leer, who scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks.
The Brown and White came out flying to start the second half, going on a 16-6 run to close its deficit to 35-32 with 13:30 to play. The Mountain Hawks received three-pointers from Alex Ross and Prosser to ignite the run. American responded back with a 13-4 run, to take a 50-37 lead with 8:27 to play. The Eagles kept Lehigh at bay for the rest of the game, not allowing the Brown and White to come within eight points.
The Mountain Hawks did not shoot much better in the second half, connecting on only 36.1 percent of their shots and just 3-of-16 from three-point range. The three three’s were the fewest by Lehigh since December 10, when the Mountain Hawks had a season low one against Ohio. The Eagles finished the game shooting 48.9 percent from the field, the highest by a Lehigh opponent all season.
Smith ended the game with four blocks and four steals, while Haly Crites added another two blocks.
A record crowd of 1,742 showed up for the game, as part of the NCAA Pack the House Challenge.
Lehigh is back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Annapolis, Md. for a battle with the Navy Midshipmen. The game can be heard live in the Lehigh Valley on 91.3 WLVR-FM and around the world on Lehighsports.com, with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports. Steve Lomangino will call the action, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.