With only a few weeks left in the regular season, Lehigh men’s and women’s basketball teams prepare for a matchup against Navy on Jan. 15 that has playoff implications.
The men’s team enters a game up on both Army and Navy for second place. They also enter the matchup having lost three of their last four games.
The women’s team is tied for third with Army and is two games behind second-place Holy Cross.
The men’s basketball team won each of their last three games against Navy, with their most recent matchup in Stabler Arena ending in historic fashion. The team went on a 17-2 run in the last three minutes of the game to win 63-62.
Sophomore Keith Higgins, the leading scorer for the men’s team at 14.8 points per game, said he is hoping to win big again against Navy.
“Navy is a very physical-minded team,” Higgins said. “They like to crash the boards pretty aggressively.”
Higgins said to win, the team must bring the physicality to match Navy’s playstyle. He said he believes the team’s preparation will yield them positive results.
For women’s basketball, Navy sits in last place in the Patriot League standings. Lehigh cruised by them to a 77-42 victory on the road in January.
“It’s a confidence-booster game,” senior guard Frannie Hottinger said. “It’s a game where we get back into some of the flow that we know we have, and for all of us to build confidence in each other and in the way that we play.”
Hottinger, the women’s leading scorer this season, enters the game 40 points away from Lehigh women’s basketball’s single season scoring record.
Hottinger said it’s crucial that the team hits their stride in this game to prepare for the final stretch of the season.
Junior Mackenzie Kramer, a shooting guard averaging 16 points per game, agreed that the next few games will not be easy.
“The rest of the matchups are going to be battles,” Kramer said. “I wouldn’t expect us to roll over anybody. In terms of what we need to do, I think we need to buckle down and pay attention to each other and play the way we do.”
Kramer said she hopes the team can collectively get a lot of minutes and see the ball go in the net to regain confidence before the playoffs.
Lehigh women’s basketball will face challenging opponents in the next few weeks as they close out the season, including Boston University, an undefeated team in conference play after winning their last 13 games.
The upcoming schedule for the men include American, who is within striking distance of Lehigh with a 7-8 record.
“We’ve established ourselves as a really good team in our league,” Higgins said. “We just have to stay true to our identity.”
Lehigh men’s basketball will host Navy at Stabler Arena on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. Lehigh women’s basketball will travel to Annapolis, Maryland, to face Navy on Feb. 15, as well.
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