WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior Becky Guman set a new career-high with 20 points, while freshman Kerry Kinek turned in her fourth-career double-double and 18th double figure performance with 20 points and 11 boards as the Lehigh women’s basketball team picked up a huge win over American on Wednesday night, 71-55. The Mountain Hawks broke a five-game losing streak on the season and a four-game skid against the Eagles with the victory.
Guman also finished with a career-best 11 rebounds to finish with her first-career double-double, while Kinek ended the game just two points off her career-high that was set a game ago against Holy Cross.
"I thought we executed tonight, finished plays and played a good half-court defense" said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. "Becky and Kerry really played well tonight and it’s a nice combination to have."
Lehigh started out with a tenacious defense that caused multiple American turnovers as the Mountain Hawks ran out to a 9-2 lead over the first four minutes. Guman found her hot hand in the early going, reaching double figures before the midway point of the first half, shooting 4-for-4 from the field over the first eight minutes of the game.
The Mountain Hawks had no trouble breaking the early press of the Eagles, outscoring American on the fast break 7-0 through the first nine minutes and finished the half with a 12-2 advantage in the category.
Lehigh entered the break with its largest lead of the first half after junior Hilary Weaver drilled a three with the shot clock winding down to put the Mountain Hawks ahead 39-23. Guman finished the first half with 15 points to lead all scorers, while Kinek also reached double figures with 10 over the first 20 minutes.
Over the first half, the Mountain Hawks shot 44 percent from the field and beyond the arc as Guman went 6-of-8 (75 percent) from the floor. Kinek finished two boards shy of a first half double-double, while Lehigh outscored American 18-10 in the paint. The Mountain Hawks never relinquished the lead after grabbing a 2-0 head start less than a minute into the game.
Lehigh also won the rebounding battle over the first 20 minutes, outworking American in under the hoop by pulling down 29 boards, 11 on the offensive glass, while limiting the Eagles to just 14.
American started the second half with four quick fast break points in an effort to cut Lehigh’s lead down to 11 just over four minutes in after forcing three Mountain Hawk turnovers. The Eagles found themselves in foul trouble early as American picked up its fifth team foul just over four minutes into the second half and reached the seven fouls at the 12:44 mark.
The Eagles put together a surge, knocking Lehigh’s lead down to just five with 7:41 to play, causing the Mountain Hawks to call the first timeout of the second half but sophomore Katie O’Reilly responded with two of her 11 pointson the night.
"Basketball is a game of runs and I thought we responded to each of their runs tonight," said Troyan. "We played the game tough and true. It feels really good to get this one."
American closed the gap several times down the final stretch, but Lehigh knocked down countless clutch baskets to keep the Eagles at a safe distance as the Mountain Hawks wrapped up their third Patriot League victory with the 71-55 win.
The Mountain Hawks shot 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc with four treys coming via Guman’s touch. Lehigh more than double American in the rebounding facet, pulling down 51 boards to the Eagles’ 24, while outscoring the home team 28-26 in the paint.
Lehigh now will return home to host Colgate on Saturday, February 16 for a 7 p.m. duel with the Raiders. The Mountain Hawks will be looking for the season sweep when they tip on what will be the Play 4 Kay game as all fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of education, support and prevention of female cancers.
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