ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team saw its four game winning streak come to an end as the Mountain Hawks fell to league-leading Navy 49-34 Wednesday night at Alumni Hall. In a defensive battle, neither team shot better than 28 percent from the field, but 22 Lehigh turnovers led to 21 Navy points as the Mids pulled away in the second half.
The 34 points were a season-low for the Mountain Hawks, who shot just 27 percent (13-for-48) from the field. Sophomore Sarah Williams led Lehigh with ten points off the bench, while senior Becky Guman added eight second-half tallies. The loss drops Lehigh to 14-14 overall and 6-7 in the Patriot League.
Navy (18-10, 11-2 PL) was led by Jade Geif who scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Kara Pollinger added 13, including three three-pointers.
“We struggled to score the basketball on the offensive end,” said Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan. “Give Navy credit. They played tremendous half-court defense and didn’t let us do anything we wanted to do. We struggled to shoot. We struggled to take care of the ball. Navy did a great job defensively.”
Defense was the story of the first half as both teams struggled to score. The Mids scored the first eight points of the contest as the Mountain Hawks missed their first 14 field goals before Williams knocked down a three-pointer with 8:10 to go in the half. Lehigh kept Navy off the scoreboard for nearly ten minutes but only got as close as three at 8-5 and then 11-8 after the Mids broke their scoring drought.
A pair Pollinger three pointers keyed a 10-0 Navy run before senior Kelly Peterson answered with five straight points for Lehigh. A late free throw by Erin Meador gave Navy a 22-13 halftime lead.
“I thought our defense did a really nice job,” Troyan said. “Geif had her way with us a little bit but other than that we were solid. We did a good job contesting threes and we kept it low-scoring to a manageable number for us to be successful, but this was a just a night where we couldn’t do anything on the offensive end.”
The Mountain Hawks shot just 21 percent (5-for-24) in the first half while the Midshipmen were held to just 24 percent (7-for-29). Both teams were 3-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, while Lehigh held a 22-20 edge on the boards.
Only three players scored for the Mountain Hawks in the first 20 minutes as Williams scored six, Peterson five and junior Hilary Weaver added two. Navy was led by Pollinger’s ten first-half tallies.
While both teams’ offensive struggles continued in the second half, Lehigh opened the period on a 6-2 run to climb within five at 24-19 but Navy went on a 16-2 run over the next eight minutes to take its largest lead at 40-21 with 7:16 to play. Guman tried to keep Lehigh close, scoring six straight Mountain Hawk points, but Geif took over for Navy down the stretch, scoring 12 of her 18 points in the second half as Navy pulled away.
The Midshipmen held a slight 42-40 rebounding advantage with Audrey Bauer leading the way with eight. Navy held Lehigh freshman Kerry Kinek in check as the Patriot League Rookie of the Week scored just two points while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. Kinek also had three blocks to lead the defensive effort.
The Mountain Hawks will close out the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Army. Game time is set for 1 p.m. from Christl Arena. The game will be broadcast on WLVR-FM (91.3) as well as Lehighsports.com with pregame coverage beginning at 12:45.
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