Posted: 01/14/2012 | Last updated: January 16, 2012 at 08:52 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In a game that featured 14 ties and 13 lead changes, the Lehigh women’s basketball team (9-8, 2-1 PL) came out on top in a double-overtime thriller to beat Colgate (4-14, 1-2 PL) 85-82 Saturday. Freshman Katie O’Reilly had the game-winning layup with 24 seconds left and senior Alexa Williams came up with a block on the other end to seal Lehigh’s 13th straight victory over the Raiders.
“I thought we played hard and even though we didn’t have our best game today in terms of taking care of the basketball, we found a way to win,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “You have to protect your home court and this was an important game for us to get. It was ugly but at the end of the day, we will take the win and move on to the next game.”
Lehigh trailed by as many as 10 with 15:49 left in regulation. The Mountain Hawks then stepped up its defensive pressure and went on an 11-0 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes to take a 38-37 lead with 12:02 left. Tied at 40, Lehigh went on another 7-0 run, five coming from sophomore Hilary Weaver. Colgate responded with a 6-0 run to cut Lehigh’s deficit to one with 7:42 left.
The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch as Lehigh held a 61-57 lead with 1:43 left in regulation. Colgate went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute as the Mountain Hawks had a chance for the game-winning basket with 19 seconds left, but were unable to score.
Then in the first overtime, Colgate scored the first five points to jump out to a 66-61 lead with 2:57 left. Weaver hit a three to cut the deficit to two, but Colgate had an answer on the other end. The Raiders then led 70-66 with 1:02 to go. Williams hit a pair of free throws, but Coglate quickly came down and scored on the other end. Weaver responded with a jump shot as Lehigh trailed 72-70 with 36 seconds left.
The Mountain Hawks sent Colgate’s Missy Repoli to the free-throw line with 22 seconds left. She made 1-of-2 to give the Raiders a three-point lead. Senior Aly Byorick then drained a deep three pointer to tie the game at 73-73 with 14 seconds left. Colgate missed a jumper and then turned the ball over with two seconds left as junior Becky Guman’s half-court heave rimmed in and out as the game went into a second overtime.
The teams went back and forth to start as Lehigh built up a three point lead thanks to a Williams layup with 1:50 to go. After Colgate responded with a layup, Weaver went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line to give Lehigh an 81-79 edge with 1:28 left. Lehigh got a pair of offensive rebounds off Weaver’s miss, but were unable to take advantage as Repoli hit a three on the other end to put Colgate up 82-81 with 24 seconds left and set up the late-game heroics from O’Reilly and Williams.
Lehigh had five players in double figures led by Williams’ fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds while she added four steals and two blocks. Byorick had a career-high 16 points, surpassing her previous career high of 15 points which she set on November 19 in a win vs. St. Peter’s. Weaver had 15 points including 6-for-7 from the free-throw line and she added five assists. Freshman Sarah Williams had a career-high 14 points on 6-for-21 shooting, surpassing her previous career-high of nine points which she had twice this season, most recently on Wednesday at American. And O’Reilly had 12 points and six rebounds.
The Mountain Hawks shot 38 percent (30-for-79) from the field for the game including 23 percent (5-for-22) from behind the arc. Colgate shot 41 percent (28-for-69) from the floor including 36 percent (5-for-14) from three. Lehigh held the rebounding edge 51-48 including an impressive 20-12 advantage on the offensive glass.
Colgate and Lehigh entered the game as the top two free-throw shooting teams in the League respectively. The Raiders shot 75 percent (21-for-28) while Lehigh shot an uncharacteristic 62.5 percent (20-for-32) from the charity stripe. The game was sloppy at times as the two teams combined for 59 turnovers (30 from Colgate, 29 from Lehigh).
Lehigh started the game on fire, building an 11-3 run four minutes into the game. The Mountain Hawks were 4-for-5 from the field in the early going, led by Byorick’s five points. Lehigh then cooled down, going one for its next seven as Colgate went on a 10-0 run as the Mountain Hawks trailed 13-11 with 12:17 left. Lehigh went five minutes without a field goal but Alexa Williams scored on a layup to even the game.
The teams then exchanged baskets midway through the half until Lehigh went on a 7-0 run, five of the points coming from Sarah Williams as Lehigh led 25-18 with 6:29 to go. Like the start of the first half, Colgate again had a response as the Raiders went on a 9-0 run to end the half as Lehigh trailed 29-25 at the break.
With the win, Lehigh improved to 31-21 all-time vs. Colgate as the Mountain Hawks also improved to 7-2 at home this season and 5-0 on Saturdays.
Lehigh is now 1-1 in overtime games this year as the Mountain Hawks fell on November 30th to Villanova 62-54 in one extra period at Stabler Arena.
Lehigh’s 85 points are the most this season with a previous high of 75 points vs. Holy Cross and it’s the most points scored by a Lehigh team since it scored 85 on January 2nd, 2011 in an 85-67 win over La Salle.
Colgate had four players in double figures including a pair of 20-point scorers. Jhazmine Lynch led the way for the Raiders with 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals while Repoli added 20 points. Lynch, Repoli, Tricia Oakes and Kelly Korkowski combined for 72 of Colgate’s 82 points.
Lehigh will return to action on Wednesday, January 18th as the Mountain Hawks hit the road to take on Bucknell at 7 p.m.