BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After topping seventh-seeded Bucknell in the Patriot League Quarterfinals on Thursday, the Lehigh women’s basketball team (17-12, 9-5 PL) shifts its attention to Navy (16-13, 8-6 PL) as the second-seeded Mountain Hawks host the third-seeded and defending Patriot League Tournament Champion Midshipmen in the Semifinals on Monday at 7 p.m. Lehigh swept the season series against Navy and has won nine of the last 10 meetings.
Should Lehigh win, the Mountain Hawks will advance to its third Patriot League Championship game in four years. Lehigh would face the winner of top seeded-American vs. fifth-seeded Holy Cross on Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
To purchase tickets for Monday’s game, please click here. Tickets may be purchased on Lehighsports.com, over the phone (610-758-4263) or in-person at Stabler Arena, Monday-through-Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for students/children/seniors.
Monday’s game can be seen on Service Electric Channel 2 with Mike Zambelli and Jim Wills on the call. The game can also be heard on ESPN Radio 1230/1320 with Matt Markus, pregame coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Lehigh used a 23-2 run over the course of two halves to cruise past the seventh seeded Bucknell Bison 63-47 Thursday to advance to the Patriot League Semifinals for the sixth straight year.
The Mountain Hawks trailed 18-15 with 7:13 left in the first half and then proceeded to go on an 11-0 run to end the half and 12-2 run to start the second half to take a 38-20 lead five minutes into the second half. The Mountain Hawks cruised the rest of the way, building up a game-high 22 points.
Nine different Lehigh players scored including three in double figures led by 13 points from junior Kelly Peterson while senior Emily Gratch added 12 points and senior Alexa Williams had 10. Peterson has come on strong as of late as she has led the Mountain Hawks in scoring four of the past five games.
Gratch also added six rebounds and now has 500 for her career. She became the fifth women’s player in Lehigh history to have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for her career.
Gratch wasn’t the only player to hit a milestone. Junior Marybeth Egan dished out a career-high 10 assists, well surpassing her previous high of four. She became the first Lehigh player to have 10+ assists in a game since Erica Prosser did it on Feb. 26, 2011 vs. Holy Cross.
Lehigh will have to get contributions from a number of different players again Monday as the Mountain Hawks take on a Navy team that leads the league in scoring defense, holding teams to 52.2 points per game, field goal percentage defense (35.7%) and three-point field goal percentage defense (25.8%).
The Mids used an 11-4 run in a 66-54 win over sixth-seeded Colgate Thursday in Annapolis, Md. to advance to the Semifinals. Navy tallied the first seven points of the contest and quickly built advantages of 15-7 and 24-11. The lead over the Raiders would grow to as many as 19 points before Colgate whittled the margin down to 34-21 at halftime. The Mids shot 48% to build their lead which would end up being just five with 3:36 left in the game.
Navy would sink 7-of-11 free-throw attempts down the stretch - and grab two offensive rebounds after four of those missed shots from the line - to finally seal the victory. The Mids were led by three players in double figures including Jade Geif and Kara Pollinger whom finished with 14 points each.
Navy has been led this season by Geif’s team-leading 10.5 points per game which ranks #11 in the league while her team-leading 8.0 rebounds per game rank #4. Geif also ranks #2 shooting 50.8% from the field. Navy’s other leading scorer is Audrey Bauer at 10.1 points per game as she leads the team in three-pointers made (52) and attempted (154). Bauer ranks #3 in the league in three’s made per game (1.8).
Navy leads the league in three-point FG percentage at 34.1% with a league-leading 188 made threes. Erin Edwards leads the league, shooting it at a 42.0% clip while Pollinger ranks #4 and Bauer #7.
Monday’s game will mark only the second time in history that Lehigh and Navy will meet in the Tournament. The lone game came on March 2, 1997 when #3 Lehigh defeated #2 Navy 70-62 in Bethlehem, Pa. en route to the Mountain Hawks’ first ever Patriot League Championship.
Lehigh holds the all-time edge over Navy 26-21 including nine of the last 10. Six of those nine wins have come by four points or less.
The Mountain Hawks swept the Mids in the regular season. The teams first met on Jan. 25 when Lehigh overcame a 16-point halftime deficit by shooting 52 percent in the second half while holding Navy to 13 second-half points en route to a 50-46 victory.
Lehigh defeated Navy in the second meeting 57-48 on Feb. 22 as the win clinched at least a home Quarterfinal game and no worse than the #3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The Mountain Hawks never trailed in the game, building a two-point halftime lead to 12 with 7:30 left. Lehigh’s lead dwindled to five with 1:40 left but the Mountain Hawks’ defense stood strong, holding Navy without a point for the rest of the game.
A Lehigh win and the Mountain Hawks will be playing for their third title in four years. The Mountain Hawks won two straight in 2009 and 2010 and have three Championships all-time. Lehigh will either travel to face #1 American or will host #5 Holy Cross Saturday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.