The Lehigh women's basketball team huddles before practice on Nov. 4, 2019, at Stabler Arena. Lehigh defeated Holy Cross 75-57 on March 7 to advance to the Patriot League semifinals. (Julia Randolph-Flagg/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball rallies for big win against Lafayette

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Lehigh women’s basketball defeated Lafayette 71-57 in the 101st meeting Monday night at Kirby Sports Center in Easton.

Coming off of their third straight loss after the Leopards defeated Lehigh 70-60 yesterday afternoon, the Mountain Hawks were hungry to capture a win in today’s game.

Lafayette took a 4-0 lead to start the game, but Lehigh’s offense does what they do best and converted from beyond the arc. They had six three-pointers in the first quarter to help put the Mountain Hawks up 22-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The Mountain Hawks made 13 three-pointers tonight, compared to Lafayette, who had two, which was a critical component in capturing the win.

Junior forward Emma Groathus led Lehigh with 17 points, while freshman guard Mackenzie Kramer followed with 16.

The Mountain Hawks went up 17, which was their largest lead of the game when junior guard Clair Steele notched a three-pointer with 1:38 left in the half. Lafayette responded and scored four quick points to close the period, but Kramer hit a last-second jumper to end the half.

The Mountain Hawks held a 37-24 lead heading into halftime, but there wasn’t enough room to take their foot off the gas. Natalie Kucowski, the preseason Patriot League Player of The Year, rallied her team and cut the deficit to two with 5:33 remaining in the game.

Kramer stepped up big once again and responded with a three to stretch Lehigh’s lead to five. Kramer has been one of the team’s best players, hitting closely contested shots when her team needs it the most.

Kramer said she doesn’t get nervous on the floor— and that it helps to know her teammates and coaches have so much confidence in her.

“If I miss a shot, I hear my teammates say, ‘I like that, you’ll get the next one,” Kramer said. “I’ve just been working on catching, shot, ready, and I’m improving on that every day.”

Head coach Sue Troyan had high praise for the freshman.

“Kenzie (Kramer) is a player, “Troyan said. “She’s actually almost a junior with her status at Lehigh—she brought in 42 credits as a high school senior coming into Lehigh as a freshman. (I’m) super proud. She’s just a very composed kid….She has been in four quarantines this fall—none of them were because she tested positive for COVID, but because of the people around her. I give her a lot of credit.”

The Mountain Hawks dug deep and scored 10 straight points in under three minutes to help lead them to a critical win.

Troyan said she’s really proud of her whole team. They found out on Friday that they were playing Lafayette and only had one day to prepare.

“Our coaches spent the day yesterday between yesterday’s afternoon’s game and tonight’s game preparing our kids,” Troyan said. We weren’t on the court, but we did a whole defensive adjustment to how we were going to play them—I give our kids a lot of credit that they were able to execute that without being on the floor, they were in classes all day, so we had a team meeting before we came over here.”

While Lehigh has no idea when their next game will be, they will spend the time preparing for a chance to punch their ticket to the Patriot League Tournament.

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