Posted: 01/13/2012 | Last updated: January 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After falling short at American Wednesday, the Lehigh women’s basketball team (8-8, 1-1 PL) returns home and will look to rebound against Colgate (4-13, 1-1 PL) Saturday at 2 p.m. It will be the 52nd meeting between the schools as Lehigh holds the 30-21 all-time edge including 12 straight wins over the Raiders.
On Wednesday at American, Lehigh cut the deficit to two with 4:52 left in the game after the Mountain Hawks had trailed by as many as 10 points late in the first half. But Lehigh couldn’t get over the hump late in the game despite holding American without a field goal for four minutes as the Mountain Hawks fell 55-49.
Eight Mountain Hawks scored as senior Emily Gratch led the way with 11 points while senior Alexa Williams notched her fourth double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Lehigh has been led this season by its two Preseason All-Patriot League forwards as Williams leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Her 10.8 points per game rank eighth in the Patriot League and her 9.5 rebounds rank first while her 1.5 blocks rank fifth and 1.6 steals rank eighth. 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 (9.9) and rebounding (6.9).
After one game on the road, Lehigh will return to the friendly confines of Stabler Arena as the Mountain Hawks are recently coming off a six-game home stand in which they went 5-1. In those five wins, Lehigh won by an average margin of 13 points defeating Loyola (Md.), NJIT, Robert Morris, Rhode Island and then Holy Cross. Lehigh is 6-2 at Stabler Arena this season where its average margin of victory is 15 points.
The Mountain Hawks will host a Colgate team that struggled in its non-League slate but like Lehigh, has also split its first two Patriot League games. The Raiders dropped their first 10 games of the season before picking up their first win on December 10th vs. Wagner. Colgate went 3-2 in its last five games before kicking off the Patriot League slate.
The Raiders dropped their League opener 56-43 to American on January 7th and on Wednesday, Colgate defeated Bucknell 73-66. Saturday’s game will mark the Raiders’ first road League game. In that victory over Bucknell, Colgate trailed Bucknell 57-48 with 8:47 remaining before the Raiders went on a 25-9 run to end the game. Colgate had five players in double figures led by Missy Repoli’s career-high 14 points while Jhazmine Lynch also had 14 points and Tricia Oakes picked up her second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Colgate has been led by Lynch who leads the Patriot League in scoring with 13.7 points per game. Lynch also ranks second in the League in steals (2.2). Oakes ranks third in the League in field goal percentage shooting at a 48.4 percent clip.
Saturday’s game will match the two best free-throwing shooting teams in the Patriot League as Colgate ranks first shooting 74 percent with Lehigh close behind at 72.7 percent. The Raider are led at the charity stripe by Kelly Reid who ranks first in the League at 92.3 percent.
The Raiders return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished 7-22 including 2-12 in the Patriot League. The eight-seeded Colgate lost to the top seed Navy in last season’s Patriot League Quarterfinals 55-36.
Colgate was picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll.
Lehigh’s last loss to Colgate came on Feb. 1, 2006 in a 71-69 overtime loss in Hamilton, N.Y. In last season’s series, Lehigh defeated Colgate 75-57 on January 19th at Stabler Arena and then hung on to a 72-65 win on February 16th at Colgate. On March 7th, 2009, the two schools met in the Patriot League quarterfinals where Lehigh cruised 78-54 at Stabler Arena.
Tickets for all home games are now on sale and may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (610) 7LU-GAME.