South Orange, NJ - Lehigh entered Walsh Gymnasium on Tuesday with a 2-0 record. The host Pirates of coach Tony Bozzella were even at 1-1. Of greater significance, how would Seton Hall come out. They were three days removed from a nineteen point home loss to Fordham. Could they learn from the mistakes of the past Saturday, adjust, put that game behind them and move on ? That was a main issue as the Pirates lined up to face the Patriot League favorites.
First period: Lehigh came out shooting the three. They found the range early building an 11-4 lead. Seton Hall preferred to run and early on was more comfortable in transition. The visitors from the Patriot League realized there was a size deficiency matching up with the Hall. Naturally, the three, especially in transition, was a main option but in half court Lehigh also ran a number of nice sets to free a cutter going to the basket.
Lehigh 19 Seton Hall 16
Second period: Seton Hall gets in the perimeter game, knocking down a few threes to build a seven point lead at the seven minute mark. Seton Hall’s junior guard Lauren Park-Lane starts breaking down the Lehigh defense with dribble penetration. Lehigh is running given the opportunity. Not a case of being drawn into the uptempo pace set by the Hall. Rather, coach Sue Troyan’s group is using the break to get an easy basket or two. Sidney Cooks shows a soft touch around the basket. At 6-4 Cooks has considerable size over her low post opposition.
Half: Seton Hall 49 Lehigh 35
3rd period: Seton Hall scores the first five points after intermission to expand the lead to 19 at the eight minute mark. Following a time out, Lehigh scored seven straight cutting the deficit to a manageable dozen points with just over six minutes remaining in the period. Lehigh goes 2-3 zone midway through the period. Mountain Hawks also pick up the point guard in a three quarter court defense. Changing the looks trying to get Seton Hall off balance. Lehigh is not going away. They trimmed the deficit to six with just over a minute left. A floater in the lane by Frannie Hottinger ends the period with the Mountain Hawks within five.
Seton Hall 68 Lehigh 63
Fourth period: Four minutes into the final stanza, the Hall leads by eight. The lead could be more if they were able to get stops. Lehigh scored in four of their first five possessions in the period to stay within striking distance. Seton Hall hinted at, but could never get separation. Two minutes left and a two possession game. Park-Lane had several good penetrations but was unable to finish. On the opposite end Lehigh seemed to come up with the key play to stay close. A three by Seton Hall’s Andra Espinoza-Hunter with 37 seconds left increases the Pirate lead to eight. That proved to be the proverbial dagger as Seton Hall closed out a hard fought victory.
Final: Seton Hall 87 Lehigh 77
Pirates improved to 2-1 while Lehigh suffers their first loss and exits Walsh with an identical won-lost mark.
MacKenzie Kramer of Lehigh led all scorers with 23 points. Andra Espinoza-Hunter paced the Pirates with 22 while grabbing a game high 10 boards. Lauren Park-lane added 20 and also handing out 7 assists.
"We emphasized limiting turnovers (10 on the night) and winning the rebounding battle (43-35) we did both." - Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella