Lehigh guard Frannie Hottinger shoots a free throw. She finished the night with a career-high 18 points. Lehigh women's basketball beat American 79-70 at Stabler Arena on Jan. 9. (Katie McNulty/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball beats American, captures first win of series

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Lehigh Women’s basketball bested American 79-70 Saturday night at Stabler Arena to capture the first victory of the series.

The Mountain Hawks improved to 3-0 to stay undefeated on the season, while the Eagles fell to 0-1.

American opened up the scoring, but two quick shots and a Frannie Hottinger three-pointer gave Lehigh their first lead of the game four minutes into play. After Hottinger’s three-pointer, the Mountain Hawks took control for the rest of the game with their fast-paced offense.

The three-point shooting was one of the key factors for today’s win. Lehigh shot 31 3-pointers and converted 41.9 percent, while the Eagles shot 16 from behind the arc and converted 37.5 percent of them.

Freshman guard Mackenzie Kramer picked up where she left off last game. Kramer hit a last-second shot to put Lehigh up 26-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Kramer shot a career-high 21 points, and Hottinger notched a career-high 18 points as well. She also finished with nine rebounds. Hottinger said the turning point for tonight’s performance was gaining confidence from her teammates.

“When we get in a flow together, it’s really fun, and when my teammates are looking for me, and it’s flowing, it just gives me confidence that I wouldn’t have had last year and (I’m) fitting into my role,” Hottinger said.

The second quarter was a much more defensive quarter, but Lehigh continued their success. Kramer hit a free throw with 2:34 left in the first half to give Lehigh a 16 point lead, which was their largest lead of the first half.

American responded to the Mountain Hawks by going on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 39-28 at the half.

Head coach Sue Troyan said basketball is a game of runs, and that’s exactly what the second half was.

Lehigh got their largest lead of the game off of a Megan Walker three-pointer to put them up 61-40, but the Eagles didn’t back down. A pair of American free throws and eight missed shots by Lehigh sparked a 10-0 run for the Eagles.

“We had our run, and we knew American is a really good team with a number of very strong players, so we knew they would be a team that would make runs too,” Troyan said. “For us, it’s about responding to runs.”

While American cut the deficit to three with 5:10 left to play, the Mountain Hawks offense found their spark to help capture Lehigh’s third straight win.

Although the Mountain Hawks captured a win tonight, some things are bigger than basketball. The team played for junior forward Emma Grothaus whose mom passed away last weekend.

Lehigh plays American on Monday at 2 p.m. at Stabler Arena, where they will look to capture their fourth straight win.

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