Lafayette claims victory over Lehigh in 100th all-time meeting
02/22/2021 | 19 o’clock
BETHLEHEM, PA. – Although the deficit was reduced to seven points by the end of the fourth quarter, the boost for the Lehigh women’s basketball team was too little, too late and fell 70-60 robins on Sunday afternoon at the Stabler Arena on Lafayette Education Day.
The Leopards (3-6, 1-4 Central) took the wire-to-wire win, never lagged behind throughout the competition, and have their 100th matchup ever against the Mountain Hawks (6-5, 2-5 Central) disputed.
Senior Guard Mary Clougherty and Junior Guard Megan Walker led Lehigh with 14 points each, while Walker scored three 3-point points.
“It was probably not our greatest effort today but there is nothing we can really compare it to when it comes to taking our step before the break,” said head coach Sue Troyan. “We had no control over our two-week break. When we came out it was pretty ugly for us and for 40 minutes we didn’t shoot the ball very well.
“I thought we played better in the second half than in the first two quarters. I thought it took a few quarters to get our feet under us and systematically get back into a rhythm as we did our offensive and Wanted to pursue defense. “
The Leopards came out of the gate with five points straight away and took the lead on eight points with 5:24. Junior guard Clair Steele converted a 3-point jumper from the quick break to get the Mountain Hawks out of the media timeout within five at 14-9, but Natalie Kucowski had two consecutive shots from outside the bow which lead the Leopards on 20 -9 to play with 3:16. Clougherty hit a 3-pointer nine seconds ahead to close the gap to six points, 20-14 towards the second quarter.
After sales from Lafayette, Steele turned that opportunity into a positive result for Lehigh, scoring a 7:25 goal from downtown to reduce the Leopards’ lead to two points. Lafayette took an 8-0 lead for the next three minutes and led 30:20, giving Troyan a break.
Clougherty’s hovering jumper from just out of suit with less than a minute of play cut Lafayette’s lead back to single digits at nine points, but Jess Booth hit his own hovering jumper 15 seconds ahead to increase the Leopards by 11, 38-27 in go the first break.
Gallery: (02/21/2021) Lehigh WBB vs. Lafayette 02/21/2021
The second quarter belonged to Lafayette, who beat Lehigh 18-13 but also shot off the field with 50.3 percent (8 of 15), while the Mountain Hawks shot just 28.6 percent (4-4). for-14) in the frame.
Naomi Ganpo didn’t waste much time early in the third quarter trying to improve Lafayette 13 points at 9:42 after a turnaround jump shot earned her four points for the competition so far. Booth scored 6:07 from beyond to improve the Leopard by 17 points. That was the game’s biggest lead up to that point.
With a 16-point advantage and 2:48 in the third game, Walker hit a 3-pointer to bring the deficit down to 13, and newcomer Mackenzie Kramer followed suit with his own 3-pointer, causing the Leopards to spend money resulting in a timeout, 53-41 with 2:00 on the clock. Booth brought the Lafayette back to 16 points in less than a minute, but Walker had the last laugh for Lehigh and got a 3-pointer that fell on track 57-46 in the final verse.
Like Ganpo at the start of the third quarter, Walker didn’t waste much time early in the fourth quarter after being fouled from beyond, going to the foul line and converting all three shots to get the Mountain Hawks to eight points.
Lafayette gained some separation, leading 12 points into the 3:56 media timeout, but Clougherty came back into the clutch to hit a 3 with 3:44 in regulation to bring the deficit back to single digits at nine points bring.
The Mountain Hawks were able to narrow the gap to seven points twice, but the Leopards were able to capture the 70-60 win on the road.
Mary Clougherty added seven rebounds to her 14 points. Clair Steele finished the double-digit result with 10 points, adding four rebounds, three assists and four steals. Mackenzie Kramer scored eight points with three rebounds.
The story of the game for Lafayette was Natalie Kucowski, who took the lead at halftime with 19 points and 11 rebounds. She went on to finish on 27 points and 19 boards, 10 against 16 off the field to record the 50th double-doubles of her career to date.
For the first time in 21 days, the Mountain Hawks struggled to shoot the ball for most of the competition. They shot 31.1 percent (19 to 61) from the field and 28.6 percent (10 to 35) from the 3-point line. Lehigh was close to perfect from the charity flick, missing just two shots for an average of 85.7 percent (12 to 14).
The leopards shot 46.0 percent (29 for 63) from the field and only 29.4 percent (5 for 17) from downtown. Lafayette prevailed against Lehigh with 44: 12, while the Mountain Hawks with 16: 5 were ahead of their opponents.
Lehigh will try to get the ship back in order on Monday night in Lafayette in the final competition of the central division of the regular season. The Mountain Hawks have lost three games in a row and will try not to fall to an overall record of .500 against the Leopards, who have won two of their last three games.
“We just have to really concentrate and honestly leave this game behind,” said Troyan. “We can’t deal with the loss and it’s good to get this game out of our system. Hopefully we can recover and the great thing we told the girls is that we can do it again tomorrow.”
“Of course it’s always harder in their place, but we have a group of strong seniors and leaders on this team who can take a break from it.”
The competition on Monday starts at 7 p.m. at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton and will be broadcast live on ESPN +.
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