Skip to main content

A Door Closes for the Lady Hawks, And Another Opens

(Photo Credit: Douglas Kilpatrick/The Morning Call)

It was almost a week ago today when the Lehigh women's basketball team was denied their chance at an unprecedented three-peat.  Taken to overtime by a scrappy American team and clutch G Alexis Dobbs free-throws, F Liz Leer took over with two gigantic 3-point bombs to advance the Lady Eagles - and not the tearful Lady Hawks - to the Patriot League finals at Navy.

It was then up to the Midshipmen to guarantee head coach Sue Troyan her third postseason trip in three years.  A Navy win would mean a guaranteed spot for Lehigh in the WNIT - and they would deliver on Saturday with a 47-40 victory.

With the loss to American, a door closes for a third straight NCAA appearance for Lehigh - but another door opens as well. After drawing St. Bonaventure in the WNIT, Lehigh gets a great opportunity at something else - the first postseason victory in program history. (more)


“American is a really talented team,” Troyan said after the game. “We really responded well to American’s big run, which says a lot about our team. Our players have competed all season long. I can’t say enough about this group. American just made a couple more shots than we did in the end.”

You could have said those shots were Dobbs' free-throws, too, as the Morning Call's account tells us:

"There was a lot going through my mind," admitted Dobbs, a 77.6 percent free-throw shooter. "It came down to being do-or-die time."

"I'm still shaking," Leer said, "because my senior season, my last game, is in the hands of a freshman. But there was no one I was more comfortable with having at the line than our freshman point guard."

"This isn't what I expected to be feeling after this game," admitted senior G Erica Prosser, the most valuable player to ever put on a uniform for the women's basketball team. "It's hard to go out this way."

*****

Hard to exit the Patriot League tournament, sure. But after Navy's win on Saturday, they learned that they wouldn't be playing their last game after all.

A few days later, late Monday night, Lehigh learned who they would be playing this Thursday: the Lady Bonnies of St. Bonaventure.

The Lady Hawks have played the Lady Bonnies twice in program history, with Lehigh winning both games. Last year, the Lady Hawks needed overtime to beat the 12-1 Bonnies in a 68-88 thriller in the Christmas City Classic, where five players fouled out, including Lehigh starters F Emily Gratch, F Courtney Dentler and G Tricia Smith.

With the score tied at 65 in overtime Dalton hit the game-winning jumper with 38 seconds left.

At the time, Prosser called it "the most nerve racking game that I’ve been a part of. It was a big win for us and it shows that our team can push through anything.”

Three of the starters in that game for St. Bonaventure will also be starting this Thursday: F Megan Van Tatenhove (14.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), G Jessica Jenkins (13.0 ppg, 40% 3-point shooting) and G Armelia Horton (5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

Like Lehigh, head coach Jim Crowley will use his deep bench early and often, and also like Lehigh the Lady Bonnies play stifling defense, only allowing 55 points a game.

It won't be easy - and the unfortunate timing means that their matchup will be happening at the exact same time as the Bucknell/UConn matchup on Thursday evening in the men's NCAA tournament.

It will take some juggling, but it's worth finding a way to listen to the game on 91.3 WLVR or Lehighsports.com with Matt Markus on the call. I may be splitting my attentions, but I'll for sure be multitasking on Thursday.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…