Lehigh women’s basketball has opened its season with a 5-2 record.
Lehigh’s two losses have come to Big East and SEC schools. The team lost to Seton Hall on the road by 10 points and to Missouri in the championship game of the Christmas City Classics tournament at Stabler Arena.
Frannie Hottinger has led the team, averaging 17.4 points per game. Hottinger, the junior captain from Minnesota, is shooting 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range.
In the Christmas City Classics tournament, senior Megan Walker and sophomore Mackenzie Kramer were both named to the All-Tournament teams. On the season, Kramer is second on the team averaging 16.1 points per game and Walker is fourth, averaging 10.1 points per game.
Kramer’s jump in her sophomore season has filled the hole left by the departure of Mary Clougherty. Clougherty is now a graduate-student playing at Georgetown University.
Last season, Kramer was a stand-out freshman, averaging 8.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting and 34 percent shooting from three-point range. This season, Kramer has upped her field goal percentage to 48 percent while shooting a scorching 43 percent from three — Kramer has made 23 threes in seven games.
“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable,” Kramer said. “Last year was a tough year because we were practicing for a couple of weeks and then going into a two week quarantine. I consider myself a shooter so it was hard to find a rhythm when your practice schedule keeps getting interrupted.”
In the win against Rider, Kramer finished with a team-high 21 points to go with a season-high 5 three-pointers. Kramer’s strong game propelled Lehigh to a third quarter run, outscoring the Broncos 28-11.
The Mountain Hawks defense has been a key for them to begin the season. Against the Broncos, Lehigh allowed 3-27 three pointers to fall (11 percent), while senior Emma Grothaus controlled the paint and blocked three shots.
“Rider was a little bit of a different kind of team than we’re used to playing,” head coach Sue Troyan said. “I thought our defense responded well in terms of defending well and I give Emma (Grothaus) a lot of credit as well. She didn’t have a great offensive game, but she carried us on the defensive end today.”
Each season, Troyan relies on the depth of her team as the Mountain Hawks play with a fast pace, which tires both the opponent and themselves out.
So far this season, 10 players average over eight minutes a game and no player averages more than 30. Senior Emma Grothaus leads the team with 29.7 minutes per game.
Against Rider, 13 players attempted a field goal and 14 players got playing time. Troyan was able to use most of her bench, knowing they had two games in two days and needed fresh legs for both contests.
Senior guard Clair Steele has been the engine behind the offense, leading the team with 42 assists over the first seven games — the second highest assist leader on the team is Kramer with 18. Steele has a 4:2 assist-to-turnover ratio, only turning the ball over 10 times all season.
Freshman Meghan O’Brien has also given the veteran team a boost to start the season, averaging over five points, three rebounds and one assist per game.
Lehigh has four more games before Patriot League play begins. With the increase in production from Kramer and Hottinger’s consistent play, the Mountain Hawks’ formidable offensive attack looks primed for another dominant season in the Patriot League.
“There are always things to work on,” Kramer said. “Communication is something we are working on currently. Getting even more comfortable in our new offense. But everything’s coming together well. I’d definitely take our team.”