With only nine seconds left in the game, junior guard Bernadette Devaney took two foul shots. As she stood on the foul line, she seemed to tune out the commotion and chaos around her. When she took those shots, she only thought about how it was only her, the ball and the rim. Devaney made both shots with ease and secured the Mountain Hawks’ win.
After being down 11 points in the first half, the Lehigh women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Mary’s 75-71 on Wednesday night at Stabler Arena.
Lehigh (5-3) struggled to gain a lead throughout the entire game, Mount St. Mary’s (0-6) was ahead the majority of the time.
As the game began, Mount Saint Mary’s won the tip off. Katrice Dickson knocked down a 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds coming off the clock. The Mountain Hawks answered. Sophomore guard Camryn Buhr and senior guard Qunici Mann scored two field goals to give the Mountain Hawks a one-point lead. It was one of the few leads Lehigh had in the second half.
Mount St. Mary’s pulled ahead and gained momentum before Lehigh clawed its way back into the game. Mann performed well throughout the entire game. She had 20 points and four assists. She made many baskets that were critical to the Mountain Hawk’s win tonight, including six 3-pointers.
Coming into tonight’s game Mann said the Mountain Hawks were not expecting a battle from a winless Mount Saint Mary’s team.
“They are a smaller team and I thought we would use our size to bully them on our home court if you will,” Mann said. “They definitely came out like they were hungry for a win.”
Coach Sue Troyan agreed. She also felt Mount Saint Mary was “hungry for a win” tonight. She believes the reason the Mountain Hawks struggled to thrive during this game was due to the fact Mount Saint Mary played a full 40 minutes of zone defense and thus far Lehigh has not seen a this strategy implemented on the court.
“They came out and played a zone defense for 40 minutes and this is the first time we’ve seen a zone all year,” Troyan said. “I think it took us some time to adjust to that, but I was proud of how the kids competed.”
During the second quarter, the Mountain Hawks were down 32-21, but in the final minutes of the second quarter, Lehigh closed the gap with a 14-6 run. The half finished with the Mountain Hawks down 38-35.
Troyan thinks the Mountain Hawks were more successful in the second half because some of their shooters, including Devaney and Qunici Mann, “stepped up.”
Tonight’s game was important for Devaney, who was the first player off the bench. According to Troyan, she had been struggling in the last five games to make her shots.
“She is one of our best shooters and I have been telling her for 2 weeks prior ‘the ball’s going to go in the basket just keep shooting when you’re open’ and she did a really nice job with taking strong shots,” Troyan said.
Devaney scored 20 points. She made 75 percent of her 3-point shots, which was important in tonight’s close game. She attributed her success to the support from her teammates.
“All season long my teammates have believed in me and have had confidence in me,” Devaney said. “I think my teammates gave [the ball]to me in the right position and I was able to have a comfortable, flowing shot.”
Tonight, Devaney proved she is able to perform under pressure. Twice during the fourth quarter, when neither team could secure a lead, Devaney made important baskets to put the Mountain Hawks ahead. She said making these shots wasn’t easy. It tooks lots of practice for her to be able to shoot under pressure.
In the final moments of the game, tensions were high. The crowd and the players alike were out of their seats intently watching every move on the court. The last minute felt like hours. There were a number of timeout and substitutions, but Lehigh kept the focus en route to another win.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Sunday to take on Sacred Heart University.