Lehigh beat Lafayette 79-48 at home on Feb. 4, 2023. Several Lehigh figures were honored during the rivalry game in celebration of National Women and Girls in Sports Day. (Eric Mehlman/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s basketball beats Lafayette, celebrates National Women and Girls in Sports day


Lehigh women’s basketball beat Lafayette 79-48 at home on Saturday afternoon in what was not just a rivalry game but also a celebration of National Women and Girls in Sports day.

Prior to the game, Sue Troyan, former head coach of Lehigh women’s basketball, was honored. Over the summer, Troyan took an administrative job with Lehigh Athletics after serving as head coach for 32 years.

At halftime, Lehigh figures Cathy Engelbert, ‘86, women’s basketball alumna and WNBA commissioner; Karen Adams, ’89G, former women’s tennis and volleyball coach; Gina Lewandowski, ’07, women’s soccer assistant coach; Bridget O’Connell, ’95; and Lisa Van Ackeren, ’09, Princeton University softball coach, were named Patriot League Trailblazers of Distinction as part of the league’s celebration of 50 years of Title IX.

“Those are the women that paved the way for our women to do what we do,” head coach Addie Micir said. “To have them here, to have it be Alumni Weekend, to have so many women’s basketball players in the house, it was really special.”

Karen Adams, ’89G, Cathy Engelbert ,’86, Gina Lewandowski, ’07, Bridget O’Connell, ’95, and Lisa Van Ackeren, ’09, are honored as Patriot League Trailblazers of Distinction at the end of the first half as Lehigh faced Lafayette on Feb. 4, 2023, at Stabler Arena. (Eric Mehlman/B&W Staff)

The game garnered an attendance of more than 1,150 people — a season-high for Lehigh women’s basketball.

Lehigh (11-11, 7-4 PL) was looking to rebound following a loss against Boston University on Jan. 28 and a loss in the first rivalry game on Jan. 21, in which Lafayette (8-13, 5-6 PL) won 63-60.

“We kind of wanted revenge from last game playing at Laf and losing there — we knew we could do a lot better,” senior forward Frannie Hottinger said. “Playing for all the people that were here for us today, it was huge.”

Lehigh took to the court with gold jerseys instead of their typical white home uniforms. Lafayette also wore alternate jerseys, sporting pink instead of maroon for the contest.

Hottinger opened up the scoring for the Mountain Hawks with a wide-open look under the basket. She entered the contest averaging 20 points per game.

Lehigh’s defense fought hard out of the gate. Defensive stops and Lafayette turnovers accumulated as the Mountain Hawks raced out to a 9-1 lead in the opening minutes before Lafayette called a timeout. Lafayette was limited to only one field goal in the first four and a half minutes of the quarter.

Hottinger continued to score at ease for Lehigh, piling up 14 points by the end of the first quarter. She was outsourcing all of Lafayette’s players by the end of the first frame. Lehigh shot over 76% from the field in the first and led 29-12.

Lafayette woke up in the second as they switched to a zone defense and were able to force Lehigh into contested shots. The Leopards’ offense began the quarter on a 5-0 run, but neither team was able to shoot above 25% from the field in the second. The Mountain Hawks were able to hold onto a 38-24 lead heading into the halftime break.

Lehigh shot the ball effectively from the 3-point range, finishing the game 44.7% from three. They were dominant on rebounds compared to the Leopards, outnumbering them on the boards 45 to 26. Junior forward Jamie Behar finished the game with nine rebounds.

“If you looked at the rebound column, there were a lot of people involved,” Micir said. “It takes the stress off of just a few of the rebounds.”

The third quarter of the game looked like the first as Lehigh had a strong start with baskets from both Hottinger and junior guard Mackenzie Kramer, who finished the game with 17. 

“This is a game we really needed,” Kramer said. “It’s a rivalry game. We always want to beat Laf, and I think we all know that (last game) was a game we shouldn’t have lost.”

Lafayette’s eight fouls in the third quarter allowed for Lehigh to build their lead at the foul line. Lehigh took 10 foul shots in the third quarter to extend their lead to 26, making the score 61-35.

In the fourth quarter, Lehigh played 14 total players and added five more points to their lead, giving them a 79-48 win.

“We can take away that we can take what we do in practice and implement it into the game,” Micir said. “It was a full team effort.”

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