Posted: 01/24/2012 | Last updated: January 24, 2012 at 02:10 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Winners of three straight Patriot League games, the Lehigh women’s basketball team (11-8, 4-1 PL) will look to keep its winning streak going as it takes on Navy (10-9, 3-2 PL) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first of three-straight road games. The Mountain Hawks sit in sole possession of second place in the League and will look to put some distance between themselves and the defending Patriot League Champion Navy which is in a three-way tie for third.
Lehigh most recently defeated rival Lafayette 68-55 on Saturday. Leading by just four at halftime, Lehigh came out of the break on a 9-0 run and never looked back as the Mountain Hawks held Lafayette to just one field goal in the game’s final four minutes. Lehigh was led by senior Alexa Williams and junior Kelly Peterson. The duo combined for 14 of Lehigh’s 22 made field goals as Williams finished with a career-high 23 points while Peterson had a career-high 17 points.
For her efforts the past week, Williams was named the Patriot League Player of the Week as she led Lehigh to a pair of victories averaging 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 56% from the floor. The honor is Williams’ first of her career as she currently leads the Mountain Hawks in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Her 11.9 points per game rank sixth in the Patriot League and is first among seniors. Williams’ League-leading 9.6 rebounds per game rank No. 37 in the Nation.
With her next rebound, Williams will become the 23rd student-athlete in League history with 700. She is currently 23rd all-time in League history and will continue to move up the list as she is four away from 22nd (Angela Myers, Navy 2007-11) and 13 away from 21st (Joanne Groth, Navy 1994-98).
Lehigh will be taking on a Navy team that started off the year with a 7-7 non-League record including a five-game win streak in early December, highlighted by an impressive win over Princeton.
The Midshipmen are off to a 3-2 League start, beating Lafayette, Army and Colgate and losing to Holy Cross and American. Navy most recently defeated Colgate 61-52 Saturday. Navy connected on field goals in five of its last six possessions to hold off a late rally by Colgate en route to victory. Navy was led by Alix Membreno’s 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting adding eight rebounds and five assists. Jade Geif had 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting and seven rebounds.
Geif was named the Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year and leads Navy in scoring (10.7ppg) and rebounding (8.2ppg). Her points rank ninth in the League while her rebounds rank third while she is also third in field percentage (49.7).
Navy is one of the best shooting teams in the League, especially from behind the arc. The Midshipmen rank second in field goal percentage (39.0) and three-point field goal percentage (33.1) while they lead the League in three-point field goals made per game (6.3).
The Midshipmen are not only dangerous offensively, but they boast the League’s best defense, holding opponents to just 51.7 points per game but should have their hands full with a Lehigh team that ranks second in scoring offense averaging 59.1 points per game.
Navy was picked to finish third in this year’s Preseason Poll after the Midshipmen tied for the regular season Championship with Lehigh at 10-4 last season. As the No. 1 seed, Navy went on to win the Patriot League Championship and earned the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament where the Midshipmen fell 56-43 to No. 3 Depaul.
Wednesday’s game will mark the 46th meeting between Lehigh and Navy as the Mountain Hawks hold the all-time edge 24-21 including winning seven of the last eight. Five of those seven wins were by four points or less.
The two teams split last season’s series as Lehigh fell at Navy 63-62 on January 12th while the Mountain Hawks won on their home court on February 9th 63-59. Last year’s loss at Navy was Lehigh’s first to Navy since dropping a 59-46 decision at Stabler Arena on February 6th, 2007.
The schools have only met once in postseason play as the third-seed Lehigh defeated the second-seed Navy 70-62 in 1997.
Wednesday’s game will be the first of three straight on the road for Lehigh as the Mountain Hawks next travel to face Army on Sunday at 1 p.m. followed by Holy Cross on Saturday, February 4th at 1 p.m. The Mountain Hawks boast an 8-2 home record and are 3-5 away from Bethlehem.