Lehigh to Host 23rd Christmas City Classic

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s basketball team will host the 23rd Christmas City Classic presented by SureStay PLUS Hotel by Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center this weekend.

The Mountain Hawks welcome Southern Illinois, Kent State and Quinnipiac to Stabler Arena. Lehigh will first take on Southern Illinois at 12 pm on Saturday. Kent State and Quinnipiac will be the other game on Saturday, which will tip off at 2:30 pm

On Sunday, the Mountain Hawks will either play the Golden Flashes or the Bobcats.

This is the second straight year that Lehigh is hosting the Christmas City Classic after there was a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a 2019 trip to the Bahamas. Last year, the Mountain Hawks defeated Rider to get into the championship game but ultimately lost to Missouri.

Lehigh will be looking to take home the Christmas City Classic title for the first time since 2010. The Mountain Hawks have won it four times total, with the other victories happening in 2000, 2008 and 2009.

Lehigh is coming off of an 84-61 loss to Drexel. The Mountain Hawks are 2-3 this season. Frannie Hottinger and Mackenzie Kramer are both averaging 19.6 points this season and are 40th in the nation in scoring. Lehigh is third in the nation in three-pointers made per game.

First-year Lily Fandre didn’t start against Drexel, but she led the bench with 13 points, which was also a career-high for the forward.

Southern Illinois is 0-4 this season. This will be the first-ever matchup between the Mountain Hawks and the Salukis. Southern Illinois finished 21-10 last season. The Salukis made it to the WNIT last year and lost to Purdue. Tyranny Brown and Promise Taylor are both averaging 10.3 points this season.

While Southern Illinois is 0-4, it has faced some tough competition in Middle Tennessee, IUPUI, Northwestern and Memphis. Southern Illinois is a young team with just one graduate student and no true seniors.

Kent State is 2-2 that far. Just like Southern Illinois, the Golden Flashes also made it to the WNIT last year. Kent State beat Youngstown State in the first round but saw its season come to an end vs. Toledo. Katie Shumate and Lindsey Thall are both averaging double figures for Kent State. Shumate is leading the way averaging 16.5 points per game, while Thall is averaging 10.8 points.

Quinnipiac is also 2-2 this season. Just like Kent State and Southern Illinois, the Bobcats also made the WNIT last season. They won the first game against Rhode Island but eventually lost to Boston College. Quinnipiac is the only one in this tournament that Lehigh has faced before. The Mountain Hawks are 1-2 against Quinnipiac. The last meeting was in 2003, when the Bobcats won 77-65.

Quinnipiac’s leading scorers are Cur’Tiera Haywood (11.8 points per game) and Mikala Morris (10.3 points per game).

Both of Lehigh’s games this weekend will be streamed live on ESPN+. Depending on their result against Southern Illinois, the Mountain Hawks could play in either the noon or 2:30 pm game on Sunday afternoon.

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Date: November 26 & 27.
Opponent: Southern Illinois, Kent State/Quinnipiac
Tip off: 12:00 on Saturday. 12:00 or 2:30 on Sunday
Arena(Capacity) Stabler Area(5,600)
Location: Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh’s record: 2-3
Southern Illinois’ record: 0-4
Kent State record: 2-2
Quinnipiac record: 2-2
TV: ESPN+ Matt Markus

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