After losing in last season’s Patriot League quarterfinals to Bucknell, the Lehigh women’s basketball team is preparing to return to the court for the 2022-23 season.
The Patriot League released preseason rankings on Oct. 13 and projected Lehigh to finish second in the league behind Boston University.
First year head coach Addie Micir said she appreciates the nod, but recognizes the whole season is still ahead of them.
Micir previously spent four years at Lehigh as associate head coach under Sue Troyan, who retired last spring after 27 years as head coach to take on a new senior leadership role within the Lehigh Athletics Department.
With the addition of new staff members, including a new associate coach, assistant coach and a new director of basketball operations, Micir said she is confident the Mountain Hawks are headed in the right direction.
“I’m really excited about this team’s personality and the competitiveness and fun they bring on and off the court,” Micir said.
In addition to the overall team rankings, junior Mackenzie Kramer and senior Frannie Hottinger were named to the Preseason All-Patriot League team. This marks the first time since the 2011-2012 season that two members of the Lehigh team were selected.
Kramer returns after starting all 30 games last season and leading the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game. She was also named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
This is Hottinger’s second year on the Preseason All-Patriot League team. Despite an injury last January, she played in 20 games, averaging 11.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Both Kramer and Hottinger said they credit teamwork over their individual accomplishments.
“The team has a saying: We over me,” Hottinger said.
The Mountain Hawks have gotten rid of official team captains this year, but Hottinger said she fills that role when necessary.
Hottinger said the team has new leadership roles, like locker room leaders and drill leaders, which allow responsibilities and work to be divided up among the players.
After dealing with an ankle injury last season, her first major injury, Hottinger said that time allowed her to put things into perspective, which will translate into her new role.
“I had to find my own identity outside of basketball and that is really important to me going into this season,” Hottinger said.
Micir said part of the team’s new focus comes from the lessons learned at the end of last season and during the summer. For some, this involved training at home, but for Hottinger and others, this meant studying abroad over the summer.
Hottinger said this experience allowed her the space necessary to regroup and come back energized.
As they gear up for their season, Kramer said the team is emphasizing accountability in practice.
She said she hopes these efforts will help get the team through the grind of their long season.
“We work to hold each other accountable for energy,” Kramer said. “If practice starts off slow, we make sure to increase our effort and bring our energy levels up in the second half.”
The Mountain Hawks begin their season with non-conference play on Nov. 7 at home against Stonehill.
Micir said non-conference opponents provide a good challenge for Lehigh and will allow for team growth before heading into Patriot League play.
Micir said there is a lot of team excitement surrounding the away game against the University of Minnesota on Nov. 13. She said several players, including Kramer and Hottinger who are Minnesota natives, are looking forward to playing in front of family and friends.
“It’s always nice to go home,” Micir said.