Lehigh women's basketball suffered a 77-53 loss to 4th-seed West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (Katie McNulty/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball falls in first round of NCAA Tournament

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SAN ANTONIO-Lehigh women’s basketball suffered a 77-53 loss Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas. This loss capped an end to one of its best seasons in program history, finishing with an overall record of 10-6. 

“I’m super proud of them,“ said head coach Sue Troyan. “We’ve been through a lot this year, and they’ve shown a tremendous amount of resilience throughout the year and did the same thing today. West Virginia is a very talented team… I thought we fought the whole game honestly, they just got the better of us in the second half there, but super proud of our kids and how they represented Lehigh and our team.”

Despite their 23 point deficit to the 4th-seeded Mountaineers, Lehigh was in the game for the majority of the time. They came out strong, taking a 7-2 lead with 6:43 left in the first quarter. Their five-point lead would be the largest lead of the game for the Mountain Hawks.

“We’re a really young team, and we like to get out, play fast and shoot the ball,” said junior forward Emma Grothaus.” I thought it meant a lot for us to compete and be physical with a team like that, being so young. I thought we did a really good job of coming out and not being scared and shooting and following our game plan…I was just really proud of our team and how we came out in the first quarter and fought and competed as hard as we could with a team like this.” 

Lehigh was down 15-13 at the end of the first quarter. 

West Virginia struggled to keep up with Lehigh’s fast-paced offense in the first half, but they slowly but surely started to figure it out. They closed the second quarter on a 10-0 run to put them up 36-26 at the half. 

Lehigh was in this game for the whole first-half until West Virginia knocked Lehigh off their rhythm. Although Lehigh put up more shots than West Virginia, the Mountaineers shot 55 percent from the field, while Lehigh shot 33 percent from the field. West Virginia also outrebounded them 40-30, which gave second chance opportunities. 

Kysre Gondrezick gave West Virginia’s offense all they needed to capture a win tonight. She notched 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Grothaus led Lehigh with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The third quarter is where it proved to be too much for Lehigh. The Mountaineers went on a 21-3 run in five minutes. That run gave West Virginia a 65-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

Despite cutting it down to 19 at one point in the fourth quarter, Lehigh couldn’t’ comeback.

While this loss ended Lehigh’s season, they were able to accomplish a lot. They came into the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 4 seed and upset three teams to capture its first Patriot League Championship since 2010.

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