Late push is just short in Lehigh’s senior loss to Lafayette

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — In its final home game of the regular season, the Lehigh women’s basketball team lost 65-61 to Lafayette, having never led in The Rivalry presented by Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute Saturday night at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks (18-10, 10-7 PL) drop their third straight game with just one more on the schedule. Seniors Emma Grothaus, Megan Walker and Claire Steele were recognized with a pre-game ceremony for Senior Night.

Second year guard Mackenzie Kramer led the way offensively for Lehigh, scoring a game-high 24 points with five 3-pointers and two rebounds. Grothaus added 12 points and grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds in his final regular-season game at Stabler Arena, which was good for his ninth double-double of the season. Steele added 9 points with four assists.

“I think we looked at the basket well tonight, we just didn’t get a lot of shots,” the head coach said. Sue Troyan. “It’s been a bit of our nemesis the last two games. I didn’t think we were playing as hard as we needed to play. There may have been distractions with a lot of things with Senior Night, but it is a game that means a lot against your rival and there is a lot at stake in the last two games before the tournament.

“So I was hoping we would come out with a bit more effort tonight. If we had played with the same intensity from the last three minutes in the first 37 minutes of the game, I think the result would have been a bit different. .”

Grothaus started the scoring for the Mountain Hawks with a 3-pointer from the sidelines. First year guard Ella Stemmer contributed to a driving lay-up shortly after being substituted. Lafayette led Lehigh, 10-5 before the first media timeout.

Second year Jamie Behar drained a 3-pointer to end a four-minute drought for the Mountain Hawks. At the end of the first quarter, Lafayette was leading 12-8.

Kramer ended an 8-0 mini run for the Leopards with a 3-pointer and Lehigh’s first field goal in six minutes. Steele followed up Lehigh’s offensive return with a foul-driving layup and a free throw. junior guard Anna Harvey and Grothaus added a layup each to cut Lafayette’s lead 29-23 at halftime.

Frannie Hottinger kicked off the scoring for Lehigh in the second half with a shot from downtown. Kramer followed soon after with his own 3-pointer, cutting Lafayette’s lead to 33-29. A lay-up by the second-year forward Maddie Albrecht and a 3-pointer from Steele brought Lehigh within two, trailing 39-37 with 4:13 left in the third quarter. A 7-0 run from the Mountain Hawks, capped by two free throws from Grothaus, tied the game at 39-39 with 3:14 left in the quarter. Lehigh trailed 48-44 heading into the fourth quarter.

A Lehigh possession that featured three offensive rebounds was capped by a Steele layup to bring Lehigh within two at 50-48 with 6:28 left in the game. A back field goal from Kramer ended a 7-0 Leopards run and Lehigh trailed 57-50 with 2:33 to go. A late offensive charge was led by Kramer who scored nine points in the final 30 seconds, with two 3-pointers and three free throws as Lehigh’s late offensive efforts narrowly failed, with Lafayette taking the win. 65-61.

The Leopards were led by 23 points from Makayla Andrews and 13 from Jessica Booth while Makalia Wilson added 10 rebounds and Booth and Abby Antognoli led the way with three assists.

For the game, Lehigh shot 29.6 percent from the floor (21 of 71) and 25.6 percent from 3-point range (10 of 39). Lafayette shot 43.6% from the field (24 of 55) and 16.7% from beyond the arc (2 of 12). Lafayette edged Lehigh in rebounds, 43-38.

“I think it’s going to be important to find our shooting confidence for this last game,” Troyan said. “We certainly haven’t been good on the road lately. We’re a team that leans quite heavily on the 3 and to have to make another run at a championship we’re going to have to do it on the I think we have to take it one game at a time, but against the Navy we have to regain our confidence and find our way.

The Mountain Hawks travel to Annapolis, Md. on Wednesday to take on the Navy in the regular season finale before the Patriot League tournament begins. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Alumni Hall and will air live on ESPN+ (subscription required), as well as Fox Sports Radio 94.7 FM and 12:30 p.m. at Easton with Matt Markus on the play-by-call. play.

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