Posted: 11/19/2012 | Last updated: November 20, 2012 at 08:32 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After knocking off Saint Peter’s last week for its first victory of 2012, the Lehigh women’s basketball team will host the La Salle Explorers Tuesday at 2 p.m. for the team’s home opener. The Explorers will be making their sixth trip to Bethlehem as the Mountain Hawks hold a 3-2 advantage at home over La Salle, including a current three-game home winning streak.
La Salle holds a 9-4 advantage over the Mountain Hawks in the all-time series, but has not won in Bethlehem since the 1979-80 season as Lehigh’s home winning streak dates back to the 1982-83 season. The Explorers took the first five in the all-time series from 1976 to 1981, but Lehigh has taken three of the last four match-ups.
In the last meeting, Lehigh shot 50 percent from behind the arc in the first half, but was unable to knock down a trey and shot 17.1 percent from the field in the second half as the Explorers came away with a 63-43 victory to open the 2011-12 season in Philadelphia, Pa. Kelly Peterson and Katie O’Reilly combined for 15 points and six boards, while Hilary Weaver added seven rebounds. The Explorers shot just 46.2 percent from the charity stripe, but were +10 in the turnover margin (23-13) and knocked down two more three-pointers than Lehigh.
Lehigh will enter the game with a 1-1 record on the season. The Mountain Hawks fell to No. 13/15 California in the season opener before rebounding with a 62-60 win over Saint Peter’s last week. Sophomore Sarah Williams hit two clutch shots and junior Lindsay Hoskins scored a career-high 17 points and had eight rebounds en route to the victory. With time winding down in the first half, senior Marybeth Egan kicked out the ball from a scrum underneath the basket to a wide-open Williams who knocked down a three as time expired to knot the score at 28 after the first 20 minutes.
Then, with just over 11 minutes to play and the Peahens leading by two, Williams smoothly drained a jumper from the foul line to again pull Lehigh to a tie with Saint Peter’s. With Lehigh leading by four (53-49) with 3:41 to play, Hoskins took the game over, connecting on a layup and three crucial foul shots down the final stretch to help Lehigh seal the win.
Freshman Kerry Kinek again impressed in the paint, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds, her second-consecutive game with 10+ rebounds to begin her collegiate career.
Lehigh is shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the free throw line through the first two games. Though they played a heavily post-driven California team, Lehigh is only -3.5 in the rebounding margin, while the defense has blocked four shots thus far. Kinek is averaging 11.5 points per game after dropping 18 in her debut against Cal, while Hoskins is shooting 60 percent from the field, which is tied for the Patriot League lead, and 87.5 percent from the line.
La Salle will enter Tuesday’s game 0-3 after falling to Drexel 56-53 in a thrilling, hard-fought heartbreaker last Saturday. Neither team was ever able to take more than a six-point lead throughout the game and La Salle senior guard Brittany Wilson dropped a game-high 26 points for her third-consecutive 20-point performance of the season. Trailing 56-50 with 13 seconds remaining, sophomore Jordan Mosley knocked down a three-pointer to pull the Explorers within three and make it a one possession game with eight seconds on the clock. After a missed shot on the other end of the floor, Mosley got off an attempt but the game-tying buzzer beater was off the mark and La Salle fell for the third time in 2012-13.
The Explorers are led by Wilson who is averaging 22.7 points per game as well as the leading rebounder with 5.7 boards per contest. Wilson can also share the rock, dishing out a team-best six assists on the year while also blocking four shots. Mosley is also making major contributions on the offensive end, averaging 10.0 ppg while pulling down 3.7 rbg.
La Salle is shooting 30.3 percent from the field as a team and 26.2 percent from beyond the arc, but the Explorers are allowing opponents to shoot 40.4 percent from long range over their three games. Despite the 26.2 percent average from three-point land over the three games thus far, the Explorers shot 58.3 percent in their last game against Drexel, while going 12-of-15 (.800) from the charity stripe against the Dragons. As a team, La Salle is shooting 61.5 percent from the line, but in its last two games has gone 27-of-37 (.729).
The Mountain Hawks will be seeking to extend their home winning streak to four games against the Explorers when the ball is tipped at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon for the first time this season for the women inside Stabler Arena.
Like Lehigh women’s basketball on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for the most up-to-date news, reports and recaps.
Buying online is the preferred method. A print-at-home option is available for fans' convenience.