Senior guard Mary Clougherty goes up for a jumper. Lehigh women's basketball defeated American 89-71 at Stabler Arena on Jan. 11. (Katie McNulty/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball beats American, captures series sweep

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Lehigh women’s basketball defeated American 89-71 Monday afternoon to complete a two-game series sweep at Stabler Arena.

The Mountain Hawks 16 made 3-pointers broke a school record and tied the Patriot League record. Lehigh’s hot 3 point shooting was the key to the Mountain Hawks capturing their fourth straight win to stay undefeated on the season.

“It’s a big part of our offense,” Head Coach Sue Troyan. “ When we put in this offense this fall, we really thought a lot about it this summer—in terms of who we had coming in as freshman, and returning as upperclassmen, and where we could be most effective. We have a lot of kids who are capable offensive threats and capable 3 point shooters… I thought they did a great job today, honestly.”

Before Saturday’s win, Lehigh had not captured a win against American at home since the 2009-2010 season.

Three straight turnovers and a missed shot by Lehigh sparked a 6-0 run for American to start the first quarter, but the Mountain Hawks stayed poised.

Behind junior point guard Claire Steele’s ability to control the tempo of the game and find open shooters on the outside, Hottinger’s ability to find space to get to the rim and freshman guard Mackenzie Kramer’s impressive shooting, Lehigh led American 20-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Hottinger opened the second quarter with two 3-pointers to extend the Mountain Hawks lead.

Without Center Emma Grothaus, Lehigh had trouble rebounding out of their 2-3 zone defense, giving up 11 offensive rebounds.

The Mountain Hawks made 11 3-pointers in the first half and shot 58 percent from beyond the arc. Their ability to score in different ways and get so many players involved is what makes this team so effective.

‘We have so many different players that can come off the bench and make a difference, as we’ve seen the last two games,” Hottinger said. “When you have that confidence in each other, the (other) team is going to have a hard time choosing how to guard.”

While Lehigh held a 46-34 at the half, American opened up the third quarter with a lot of energy scoring six quick points to cut the deficit to six.

The Eagles cut it down to three after a Jade Edwards jumper, who finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds.

Lehigh responded and closed the third quarter strong and was able to extend their lead to 71-57 after junior guard Megan Walker hit a three-point shot and found Sexe for an and-1 layup.

The Mountain Hawks zone defense was very effective in preventing outside shooting, limiting American to only one three-point shot.

In a total team effort, Lehigh closed the game strong and held on to a win. Seven players scored at least eight points, and Hottinger, who scored a career-high 21 points, was the team’s leading scorer.

Lehigh looks to build on their momentum when they return to Stabler ArenaSaturday, Jan. 16 against Bucknell at 2 p.m.

“They’re a really good team. It will honestly be a fun matchup,” Troyan said. “They’re a team who’s very well-coached, a team that’s got a lot of offensive weapons like us. I think it will be somewhat of a shootout on Saturday and Sunday… I’m excited about the opportunity to see where we are.”

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