Women's Basketball Falls Late to Lehigh
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In a tight battle throughout, Lehigh pulled away late as the Holy Cross women’s basketball team fell, 64-55, on Wednesday, January 9.
Junior Megan Swords had her fourth double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds; junior Lauren Manis led all scorers with 15 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Avery LaBarbera was in double digits with 10 points, and fellow rookie Oluchi Ezemma had eight points, two blocks and five rebounds.
Holy Cross moves to 8-6 on the year and 0-3 in the Patriot League. Lehigh is now 11-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in conference play.
Despite the score being knotted after three quarters at 41-41, Lehigh was able to convert on key baskets down the stretch to pull away. Manis traded baskets with the Mountain Hawks early, but with the score tied at 45 apiece with 7:51 to go in the fourth, Lehigh went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes. Manis hit a three with 3:32 to go to stop the drought, but out of a Holy Cross timeout, Lehigh’s Mary Clougherty drained a three to put her team back up by 10, and the Crusaders could not come back.
Holy Cross trailed 11-5 with 1:58 to go in a low-scoring first, but junior Madalyn Smith converted on a jumper and LaBarbera hit a three with 42 seconds left to bring the Crusaders within one point after a frame.
Manis had a layup to open the second and put Holy Cross up by one before Lehigh had five unanswered points to gain a 16-12 lead. LaBarbera hit a jumper to bring the Crusaders within a basket, and Ezemma evened the score with a layup. Sophomore Jenay Faulkner put an exclamation point on the stretch with a block; she then brought the ball up the court and dished to Ezemma, who made a contested layup. Holy Cross would build its lead up to four points after a layup by Swords. Lehigh climbed back and went up by two, but Swords had another layup with 57 seconds remaining to even the score at 26-26 headed into the half.
Holy Cross’ lead grew to five points early in the third after a three from Smith and layup from LaBarbera, but Lehigh again stayed in it, going up by four with 4:59 to go. Swords and Manis had a pair of baskets and junior Nicole Morris was able to sink a free throw, swinging the lead back in the Crusaders’ favor, 38-37. Lehigh’s Emma Grothaus had a layup to briefly regain the lead, but Ezemma answered on the other end to put Holy Cross back up by one. Swords had a free throw to build a two-point lead, but the quarter would again end in a tie, as Lehigh had two free throws of its own.
Lehigh had two players in double-digit points, as Cameryn Benz had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds while Hailey Pascoe had 12 points and four steals.
The Crusaders return home to the Hart Center with a matchup against Loyola (Md.) scheduled for Saturday, January 12. Tipoff is set for 12:05 p.m.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- Smith has had five or more assists in each of her three conference contests. She leads the league in total assists in conference play this year.
- The Crusaders continue to dominate on the boards as of late; Holy Cross has out-rebounded its opponents in each of the past four games and in seven of the past nine games, holding a 44-37 margin in Wednesday’s contest.
- This was the first contest this season for Holy Cross in which the score has been tied at halftime; a year ago, Holy Cross lost its only game that was tied at the half.
Season and single-game tickets to see the Crusaders are on sale now. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to see the best collegiate basketball in Central Massachusetts! Tickets for Holy Cross basketball can be purchased online at GoHolyCross.com/tickets or over the phone by calling 1-844-GOCROSS.