Mountain Hawks set to visit Holy Cross Saturday in Worcester

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BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – The Lehigh women’s basketball team got off to a perfect start to their Patriot League game after a 62-55 defensive win over Army West Point Wednesday night at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks, the first Division I team in Pennsylvania to win 10, travel to Worcester on Saturday to face Holy Cross at the Hart Center at lunchtime.

Lehigh trailed the Black Knights at halftime before taking a 33-23 lead on the road to victory in the second half. Emma Grothaus, who was the heroine against Colgate on Sunday, scored 15 points and led the team with nine rebounds and three blocks. Mackenzie Kramer also scored 15 points on three 3-pointers with four rebounds. Clair Steele made her first appearance in over a month, leading the Mountain Hawks with four assists.

The Mountain Hawks shot little more than 30 percent, shot 32.8 percent (21-for-64) from the field, but shot 11-for-14 from the free-throw line, which turned out to be the deciding factor.

Kramer remains Lehigh’s best scorer with 16.2 points per game, while Frannie Hottinger is second with 14.5 points and Grothaus (13.3) and Megan Walker (10.7) just behind.

Lehigh is currently in the nation’s top 10 for both free throw percentage (8th, 78.8) and 3-pointers per game (6th, 10.2).

A win over Holy Cross would mark Lehigh’s sixth straight win, which would match the winning streak of six games in 2019-20 and lead the Mountain Hawks to a 3-0 Patriot League for the fourth straight time.

So far so good for Holy Cross to begin the Patriot League game despite the fact that the last two games have been postponed due to health and safety protocols on behalf of Loyola (Md.) And Lafayette.

The Crusaders won their opener at Navy on December 29, 63-53, playing their first game in over a week.

Three different players scored a total of 11 points as Avery LaBarbera, Bronagh Power-Cassidy and Oluchi Ezemma both hit that mark in victory. LaBarbera also scored 11 boards and eight assists, landing just two cents off a triple-double. She also registered three thefts. Janelle Allen had nine points with four rebounds while Addisyn Cross had three assists with four boards and six points in 35 minutes of action.

Holy Cross shot 42.6 percent (23-for-54) out of the field against the Midshipmen and 34.8 percent (8-for-23) from beyond the bow. In defense, the Crusaders kept the Navy only 38.5 percent (20-for-52) out of the field and 26.7 percent (4-for-15) out of the way.

LaBarbera leads the team with 13.3 points per game and also clocks her teammates with 7.7 rebounds per game and 3.9 assists. Power-Cassidy averages 10.4 points and Oluchi Ezemma 9.5.

The Crusaders have won three of their last four games, extending into non-league games, with wins over both New Hampshire and Stetson.

Historically, Holy Cross has the all-time advantage over Lehigh, 46-28 with a 38-24 advantage in the Patriot League game.

The Mountain Hawks are currently in a winning streak of three games against the Crusaders after three wins in the 2020/21 season – two in the regular season and one win in the Patriot League quarter-finals. Lehigh has won five of the last seven matchups on January 9, 2019.

At the Hart Center, the Mountain Hawks have only won eleven times with an 11-24 away record. The last time Lehigh won in Worcester was a 79-74 overtime win on March 6, 2019.

Saturday’s matchup will be broadcast live on ESPN + (subscription required) at noon.

As per Holy Cross’ new spectator policy, all sporting events have temporarily suspended spectators and the Saturday game will not be open to the general public. Tickets purchased for events where spectators cannot attend will be refunded to the original payment method. All questions about ticketing can be directed to the Holy Cross Ticket Office at [email protected] or 1-844-GOCROSS.

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Date: January 8, 2022
Opponent: Crusader of the Holy Cross
Tip: midday
Arena (capacity): Hart Center
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Lehigh’s record: 10-3, 2-0 PL
Record of the Holy Cross 7-5, 1-0 PL
Series history: Holy Cross Leads, 46-28

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