Skip to main content

Weekend Wrapup: An Unexpected "Rivalry" Finale, and the "Lucky Seven" EIWA finishers

It sure didn't look like this was going to be how the Patriot League women's basketball championship would end up going into the tournament. Not so much No. 1-seeded Lehigh's presence in the tournament - but that the opponent is the No. 7 seed Lehigh fans love to hate.

My family and I were there yesterday, watching Lehigh overcome a slow start and a three point deficit at halftime to finally overwhelm the Army Lady Knights 61-42. Facing off against an Army team that beat the Lady Hawks 54-52 at Christl Arena and who gave them a run for their money in a 66-58 game on Valentine's day in Stabler, I was worried about this game from the outset.

But the ladies responded with an extraordinary second half where Lehigh shot 57.7% from the field and turned the screws defensively, only allowing 18 points in the second half. The unquestioned hero was senior G Tricia Smith, who came very close to a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. When freshman C Alexa Williams took a nasty elbow to the face in the first half and had to leave, there was no dropoff: freshman F/C Emily Gratch jumped right in with 10 points and 7 rebounds in her place.

Worthy of mention the play of sophomore G Erica Prosser (14 points, 3 steals) and junior G Alex Ross (13 points) as well, but watching the game it was abundantly clear how much of a team effort this game was. It's clear how much the contributions of senior F Haly Crites, senior G Claire Sullivan and senior C Melissa Rich meant as well - double-digit minutes that didn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but were crucial to the victory.


And what's the only thing keeping the 25-6 Lady Hawks (Real Time RPI: 69) from crossing off one of the biggest items on their bucket list? Going into the tournament, I thought that if Lehigh made it through the first two rounds, it was going to be No. 2-ranked American for sure.

I would have never believed that it would be "that school in Easton".

But it is. Yes, it is. Yes, 10-21 Lafayette (Real Time RPI: 245). The No. 7 seed. The Leopards, who went 4-12 in Patriot League play and who lost to the Lady Hawks by 21 points in January at Stabler and by 15 points at Kirby.

How did the Lady Leopards do it? Start with sophomore G/F LaKeisha Wright's game-winning jumper against No. 2-seeded American with 19 seconds to play - the margin of victory against the Eagles. Against Navy, Lafayette looked a lot like, well, Lehigh: playing tough defense while shooting 46% themselves in their 62-55 victory. Sophomore F Elizabeth Virgin played lights-out this weekend scoring in double figures both games, while Navy's focus on Wright saw senior G Jessica Spicer sink Navy for 17 points - including 4-for-8 from 3 point land.

This matchup - without a doubt - is the dream matchup for Lehigh and Lafayette fans alike. It's not only a rematch of 1997's championship game (which led to Lehigh's only Patriot League women's basketball championship and NCAA Tournament appearance) -it promises, quite possibly, a sellout crowd in Stabler filled with white-shirted Lafayette fans and brown-shirted Lehigh fans. It will be seen on national television on ESPNU ("El Ocho") at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Make no mistake, this Wednesday will be big time.


Cornell was always going to be a very tough out in the EIWA championships, even with Lehigh's 21-1 dual record. While the Lehigh grapplers gave them a good run, they finished EIWA in second place to the Big Red. This year, though, Lehigh wrestlers earned two individual championships - and (at least) seven wrestlers heading to St. Louis to prove their mettle on the national stage.

The big story for Lehigh was junior 184 lb David Craig, who didn't give up a single point in the entire championship and dominated Cornell's Justin Kerber in the championship bout at 184 lbs. Criag is a real threat to be an individial champion in St. Louis, as is junior 141 lb Seth Ciasulli, who upset No. 1-seed Corey Janzen out of Harvard to win the individual title. Freshman heavyweight Zach Rey came close to making it three individual champions, but lost in a decision to Columbia's Ryan Flores.

Junior 133 lb Matt Fisk (3rd), junior 165 lb Mike Galante (3rd), senior 149 lb Trevor Chinn (4th), sophomore Alex Caruso (4th) and freshman 125 lb John McDonald all will be headed to nationals as automatic qualifiers.

And lest I forget, Lehigh head wrestling coach Steve Santoro won an impressive piece of hardware himself: EIWA Coach of the Year. Congratulations to everyone - and we'll see if Lehigh will send a few more to nationals in terms of at-large wrestlers, too.


Anonymous said…
Correction there LFN. McDonald is NOT going to NCAA's. 174 pounder Caruso is. McDonald finished 6th and Caruso finished fourth.

Popular posts from this blog

Friday Water Cooler: Emma Watson, And Harvard Football

(Photo courtesy I'm sure this won't be appreciated by the latest famous freshman to attend an Ivy League school. No, no, I'm not talking about Brooke Shields, I'm talking about Emma Watson, the actress who is best known for her turn as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies. We always knew there was something, well, different about kids who went to Harvard - a bit of an upturned nose, perhaps, annoying arrogance, or maybe even some Brahmin-ness while we're at it. Turns out, though, that some students were up to something more sinister: stalking Ms. Brown University at the Harvard/Brown game last weekend, as reported by the New York Post : Page Six reported on Tuesday that the "Harry Potter" starlet and Brown University freshman looked "quite shaken" on Saturday as Harvard beat Brown 24-21 in Cambridge. Watson was reportedly flanked by security guards to protect her from gawkers. But her discomfort was actually the result

Assuming the Ivy Is Cancelling Out Of Conference Games, Here's How Patriot League Can Have 9 Game Season

The Patriot League could very well be in a huge bind assuming the Ivy League goes forward with their college football restart plans. According to Mark Blaudschun of TMG Sports, the Ivy League is considering two plans for their 2020 college football season - neither of which allow for any out of conference games. 13 out-of-conference games involving Patriot League teams would be on the chopping block, and when you add to it the Patriot League presidents' guidance to not fly to games , every single member of the Patriot League is affected.  If you add to that the fact that the opening of the college football season is going to at best start in late September (yes, you read that correctly), the Patriot League would count as one of the most deeply affected by Covid-19-influenced delays and decisions in the entire college football landscape. It is a bind to be sure - but not one that should see the Patriot League cancel the 2020 football season. If we start with the assumption that t

How The Ivy League Is Able To Break the NCAA's Scholarship Limits and Still Consider Themselves FCS

By now you've seen the results.  In 2018, the Ivy League has taken the FCS by storm. Perhaps it was Penn's 30-10 defeat of Lehigh a couple of weeks ago .  Or maybe it was Princeton's 50-9 drubbing of another team that made the FCS Playoffs last year, Monmouth.  Or maybe it was Yale's shockingly dominant 35-14 win over nationally-ranked Maine last weekend. The Ivy League has gone an astounding 12-4 so far in out-of-conference play, many of those wins coming against the Patriot League. But it's not just against the Patriot League where the Ivy League has excelled.  Every Ivy League school has at least one out-of-conference victory, which is remarkable since it is only three games into their football season.  The four losses - Rhode Island over Harvard, Holy Cross over Yale, Delaware over Cornell, and Cal Poly over Brown - were either close losses that could have gone either way or expected blowouts of teams picked to be at the bottom of the Ivy League. W