BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team (9-8, 2-1 PL) will look for its second straight League win Wednesday as the Mountain Hawks travel to take on Bucknell (2-16, 0-3 PL) at 7 p.m. Lehigh is hoping to ride the momentum from Saturday's thrilling double-overtime victory over Colgate. Wednesday's game will mark the 69th meeting between Lehigh and Bucknell as the Mountain Hawks hold a 38-30 all-time edge including nine straight victories in which Lehigh has won by an average margin of 14 points.
Lehigh enters Wednesday’s game winners of seven of its last nine games including most recently an 85-82 double-overtime win over Colgate 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.
The Mountain Hawks had five players in double figures led by Williams’ fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Aly Byorick had a career-high 16 points, sophomore Hilary Weaver had 15 points, freshman Sarah Williams had a career-high 14 points and O’Reilly added 12 points.
Lehigh has been led this season by its two Preseason All-Patriot League forwards Alexa Williams and Emily Gratch. Williams leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Her 11.1 points per game rank sixth in the Patriot League and her 9.7 rebounds rank first while her 1.5 blocks rank fifth and 1.7 steals rank eighth. She is also second in the Patriot League with five double-double games. Gratch missed Lehigh’s first eight games due to injury but she has returned will full force as she is second on the team in scoring (9.7) and rebounding (7.3) and the Mountain Hawks are 7-2 since her return.
While Lehigh ranks second in the Patriot League in scoring at 58.9 points per game, it will be taking on a Bucknell team that is last in the category at 50.5 points. Bucknell is off to a tough start this season as the Bison are 2-13 as they enter Wednesday’s game on an eight-game losing streak. Bucknell won its season opener 46-35 vs. St. Peter’s prior to losing eight straight until the Bison defeated Fordham on Dec. 6th 49-39. Both of Bucknell’s wins came at home.
The Bison are still looking for their first Patriot League win of the season as Bucknell most recently fell just short 49-45 vs. Lafayette Saturday. Bucknell held a 39-36 lead with 10:32 left in the game, but were unable to manage a field goal until the final seconds. Bucknell was led by Lindsay Horbatuck’s 12 points and nine rebounds while Rachel Voss added six points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
Bucknell is led by Shelby Romine who leads the team with 9.1 points and 3.5 assists while Horbatuck leads the team in rebounds with 7.7 per game, which ranks fourth in the Patriot League.
While Bucknell has struggled offensively this season, the Bison have done some nice things defensively as they are second in the League in defensive rebounds (35.3), second in steals (8.2) and third in blocked shots (4.2).
Bucknell was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll while Romine was named to the Preseason All-League Team.
The Bison went 11-17 last season including a 7-7 record in League Play. The No. 4 seed Bucknell defeated the No. 5 seed Army in last year’s Patriot League Quarterfinals 54-40 before falling to eventual champion No. 1 Navy 55-41 in the Semifinals.
In last season’s series, Lehigh defeated Bucknell 64-48 on January 26th in Lewisburg and then cruised to a 72-39 win on February 23rd in Bethlehem.
On March 6th, 2010 in Worcester, Mass., the two schools met in the Patriot League quarterfinals where Lehigh won handily 72-58.
Lehigh’s last loss to Bucknell came on February 20th, 2007 in a 63-53 defeat at Stabler Arena.