BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The Lehigh women’s basketball team rebounded from a tough Wednesday loss to Army with a solid performance, beating Holy Cross 67-61 Friday night at Stabler Arena on National Girls and Kids Day. women in sport. With the win, the Mountain Hawks improve to 14-6 overall, 6-3 in Patriot League play, earning their 11th home win of the season with three home games remaining. Lehigh went 15 of 35 from beyond the 3-point line, including 12 in the first half, finishing just shy of the single-game program and Patriot League records. Additionally, the win ends the Crusaders’ five-game winning streak (13-7, 7-2 PL).
Second year guard Mackenzie Kramer led the way with 18 points, converting five of his nine 3-point attempts. Senior striker Emma Grothaus added 14 points, dropping 5 of 12 from the floor and 2 of 4 from 3-point range. senior guard Claire Steele scored 11 points (seven in the second half), adding eight assists, shooting 6 of 8 from the free throw line.
“It feels good to have that one,” said the head coach Sue Troyan. “I thought a lot of people stepped up. We did a really good job of setting the tone at the start of the first half. We had a lot of clean looks to the basket, our kids knocked down their shots. J I was really proud of our second half They really stepped up in the critical moments and coped in a big game situation playing really well for us especially with Megan (Walker) getting injured .
For the Crusaders, Bronagh Power-Cassidy led the scoring with 15 points. Holy Cross featured four players scoring in double digits.
Senior Megan Walker started the scoring for Lehigh in the first quarter, opening for a 3-pointer while Kramer followed suit with a 3-pointer of his own.
The Crusaders attacked inside the paint while Lehigh stayed hot from long range, firing 9 of the game’s first 10 shots from beyond the arc and making it six. Lehigh finished the first quarter leading 21-12, all with 21 of 3 points.
The Crusaders fought back in the second quarter, tying the game 22-22 with 7:18 left until halftime, but the Mountain Hawks finished the first half on a 13-2 run, leading the Crusaders 41-34. The Mountain Hawks dominated from afar, making 12 of 19 3-pointers.
Coming out of the third quarter break, Steele attacked the rim early with a driving layup to start the scoring for Lehigh, extending the lead to 12 points. Grothaus and first year Kaylee Van Eps both added 3 to lead the ball ahead of Holy Cross at 54-44.
Mountain Hawk’s defense snuffed out the Crusader offense, keeping them scoreless for the final 5:34 to end the third quarter. Holy Cross responded and showed solid defensive effort, keeping Lehigh’s offense scoreless for 5:04 to open the fourth quarter.
— Lehigh Women’s Basketball (@LehighWBB) January 29, 2022
Overall, Lehigh shot 36.4 percent (20 of 55) from the floor, shot 42.6 percent (15 of 35) from 3-point range, and went 12 of 17 from the charity strip. The Mountain Hawks held Holy Cross just 37.3 percent (25 for 67) from the field and 20 percent (3 for 15) from distance. The Crusaders converted on all eight free throw attempts.
“We were better tonight, I really challenged our players to match their tenacity, which we struggled with on Wednesday,” Troyan said. “We were strong on both sides of the floor tonight, showing a lot of grit and tenacity. Avery (LaBarbera) was our focus defensively and I thought Clair (Steele) did a really good job to keep her in check. She dropped 30 against us the last time we played them and had just five tonight.
“Again it was a really great team win for us. Different people played different roles and the strength of this team is the depth we have and a lot of different people can contribute in different ways.”
Lehigh finished with the advantage in turnover points (11-10), quick break points (17-5) and bench points (14-8), while forcing 12 Crusader turnovers on seven interceptions.
As part of the NGWSD festivities, former Lehigh student and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert ’86 served as a guest coach on the sidelines and spoke at halftime. Engelbert’s inspirational halftime speech encouraged the young girls to stick with the sport and the life lessons it can teach them.
The Mountain Hawks have a week off before heading to Boston University next Saturday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ (subscription required).
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