Clair Steele brings the ball up the court in a game against Holy Cross on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. Steele will return home to the San Francisco Bay Area for a postgraduate year at St. Mary's University of California. (Katie McNulty/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball defeats Holy Cross, captures weekend sweep


Lehigh women’s basketball defeated Holy Cross 83-62 Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena to capture the weekend sweep. The Mountain Hawks improved to 6-2, while the Crusaders fell to 4-4.

Lehigh picked off right where they left yesterday after a dominating win. A Megan Walker 3-pointer sparked an 11-0 run for the Mountain Hawks to help them take a 24-13 lead after the first quarter.

One of the keys to today’s win was their 3-point shooting, which they are certainly known for. They made four three-pointers in a row in the first quarter and finished the first half shooting 38 percent from behind the arc.

There was no slowing down Lehigh in the second quarter. Their offense’s hot shooting and lockdown defense were impeccable. They held Holy Cross to 11 points in the second quarter, while they finished the first-half shooting just 28.6 percent from the field, while Lehigh shot 47.5 percent from the field.

The Mountain Hawks got their biggest lead of the first half when senior guard Mary Clougherty converted a 3-pointer with four seconds left to stretch their lead to 45-24 at the half. Clougherty and Frannie Hottinger combined for more than half of the team’s first-half points. Hottinger finished with a career-high 27 points while Sexe followed with 16.

Hottinger has stepped into a starting role this year and turned into one of the team’s most reliable players. She said she wants to continue working on the defensive end of things.

“I want to know the personnel better,” Hottinger said. “Playing at the college level, there’s so much more of an emphasis on thinking and using your brain on the defensive end, so I want to work on that more.”

Holy Cross outscored Lehigh 21-17 in the third quarter, with seven of those 21 points coming in the last minute and a half of the period. Lehigh still led 62-45 at the end of the third.

The Crusaders started the fourth quarter hot, cutting the lead to 12 off of an Avery LabBarber layup, but it wasn’t enough to capture a win. Lehigh’s defense stepped up once again and held Holy Cross to capture their second straight victory.

One of the successful parts of this team is that they have so many girls who can take over the game. Yesterday, it was Sexe, while today it was Hottinger. Head coach Sue Troyan said it gives the coaches so much confidence.

“We have a number of kids who are able to put the ball in the basket,” Troyan said. “We’ve had a number of games where kids have had career-highs. It was a little more oriented towards posts today and with these last two games in the series this weekend…..It speaks to the unselfishness of the team to find the hot hand. It’s a team who’s individually not too concerned about what minutes we have, who’s getting points and shots.”

Lehigh was supposed to take on Bucknell next weekend, but due to the positive COVID-19 cases within the program, both games have been postponed and scheduling announcements will be made at a later date.

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