The No. 4 seed Lehigh women’s basketball team will face off against the No. 5 seed College of the Holy Cross at Stabler Arena Monday night.
In an up and down year for the team, it finished the season with a 17-12 overall record, including 10-8 in the conference. Coach Sue Troyan spoke about consistency being a challenge for this team, but also noted the Hawks have a lot of potential.
“I think, honestly, this is as talented a team as I’ve ever coached here,” Troyan said. “I think if they can put it together they can definitely make a run through the tournament.”
This year’s team also improved its seeding from last year in the Patriot League Tournament when it was sixth. Getting the No. 4 seed is important because it guarantees not only a first-round bye, but also that the Mountain Hawks play at home in their first game.
“I think it’s a pretty significant advantage,” Troyan said. “If you look at won-lost records in the league, home teams definitely have an advantage.”
The Mountain Hawks will be looking for key contributions from junior forward Lexi Martins, who leads the team in scoring with an average of 15.3 points per game and leads the Patriot League with an average of 13.8 rebounds per game. Martins was also named to the All-Patriot League first team after being on the All-Patriot League second team the previous year.
The Hawks will also be counting on sophomore guard Quinci Mann to continue playing a big role. Mann was second on the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game average. She also led the team with 54 3-pointers and a 42.9 3-point field goal percentage. Mann was named to the All-Patriot League second team.
In addition to Martins and Mann, Troyan feels the team has a lot of different players who can contribute. She believes this team has strength in not being one-dimensional.
Senior guard Amina Affini echoed this sentiment.
“Everyone on our team poses a threat and everyone on our team has a role on this team that is very beneficial,” she said.
There is also strong leadership on the team through four seniors: Affini, Kerry Kinek, Elizabeth Sharlow and Elizabeth Jordan.
Kinek stressed there is a sense of urgency among the seniors to win since these are the last few games they’ll probably play, and they want to go out on top. Troyan also mentioned this sense of urgency and said the difference between a regular season and the tournament is that now there is a do-or-die mentality and more intensity to the game.
Troyan also said in preparation for the game, at this point, there is a lot of fine-tuning, but there are some specific things that the team will work on.
“Defending is going to be important, especially against a really strong Holy Cross team,” Troyan said.
Holy Cross is led by the guard duo of Infiniti Thomas-Waheed and Lisa Mifsud. Mifsud earned All-Patriot League second team honors while Thomas-Waheed was named to the All-Patriot League defensive team of the year.
Kinek spoke about the tournament game, saying that the day is on everyone’s minds in the time leading up to it. The Hawks, she said, will be focused on winning it.
Troyan said the focus has to be to take it one game at a time, though. The team’s original goal was to secure a home game for the tournament, and now that it has done that, the focus will be on Holy Cross.