Skip to main content

Women's Patriot League Quarterfinals: Lafayette

A nine game winning streak to end the year?  That's good, I think.

Achieving two thirty-point wins against Bucknell and Holy Cross at home last week?  That's OK, I guess.

A well-deserved Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year award for senior G Erica Prosser? That's nice.

But you've got to believe that the Lady Hawks are excited about one thing, and one thing only about the first round of the Patriot League tournament Saturday night at Stabler arena - the fact that Lehigh has the opportunity to enact some revenge. (more)

"We started out a little rough defensively, but that changed as the game progressed," head coach Sue Troyan told the Brown & White after their 83-55 thumping of Holy Cross. "We were able to contest their perimeter shots and disrupt their offensive sets. As a result, we were able to get easy buckets in transition."

No senior had a better senior night than F Courtney Dentler, who concluded her regular-season career with 21 points and 13 rebounds to go with Prosser's 19 points and 10 assists.

"I am really proud of this group of seniors," Troyan said.  "They have meant so much to this program and I couldn’t have asked for a better group than this. They really have worked hard, they have represented our program and this University well."

The win over Holy Cross capped off a furious end to the regular season for the Lady Hawks, where they won nine games in a row and showed some of the championship form they showed going into Patriot League play.  They finished tied for the regular-season title - but gained the No. 2 seed, losing the tiebreaker to the No. 1 seed Navy.

The great finish was enough to see Prosser earn a ton of hardware from the Patriot League office - not totally unexpected - as well as Dentler's presence on the second team all-Patriot League team.

And as luck may have it, they'll face a familiar foe in the first round of the Patriot League tournament - a certain school in Easton.

Not only has Lafayette been a frequent, tough opponent for Lehigh in the tournament - the type of team where you throw out the records, and the lower seed has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain - but the Lady Leopards also happened to be the last team to defeat the Lady Hawks during the 2010-2011 regular season as well.

57-54.  At home.

"They've always been tough when we've faced them in the tournament," Troyan said after the Holy Cross game.  "Three years ago in the first round at Army was a tough game, two years ago in the championship game was another tough game.  It seems like they're always a tough matchup."

Troyan didn't mention the home loss to Lafayette during the regular season, but she made it abundantly clear that this senior class "knows what's at stake. Four games ago, we said we're treating this like a mini-tournament, and really challenged them to get around and see where we can finish up."

While there could be a gag order about mentioning the Lady Leopards by name - even when Dentler was asked specifically after the Holy Cross game about their regular-season loss to Lafayette, she pointedly evaded the question - it can't be a coincidence that one of those games in their 'mini-tournament' was against Lafayette at Easton, a game which the Lady Hawks dominated 70-49.

It's easy to look at that result, and the seedings - the No. 2 playing the No. 7 - and anticipate a Leopard beatdown.  But there's plenty of warning signs for the Lady Hawks going into Saturday.

Two years ago, like this season, Lafayette entered the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Playing at Stabler Arena - Lehigh hosted the entire tournament that year - the Leopards pulled off a quarterfinal upset, squeaking by American 58-56.

Lafayette's first-year head coach, Dianne Nolan, certainly must be looking at that year's results - as well as their regular-season win - as a good sign that her team has what it takes to win this game.

Lafayette’s senior class, including G LaKeisha Wright and F Elizabeth Virgin will be playing to prolong their careers, and word that 6'7 freshman F Danielle Fiacco will probably be making her return for the playoffs as well, which should give the Lady Leopards a huge boost.

Lafayette enters Saturday with a No. 7 seed, with nothing to lose, and would love nothing better to send Lehigh packing and start another magical tournament run.  Lehigh loses, they're done.  Lafayette loses, they're done.

That's what makes this weekend's first-round matchup - at 7:00 PM at Stabler - something you've got to catch.

Tickets are still available - and affordable - but the game will also be televised on Service Electic 2, with Steve Degler and Jim Wills on the call.  Matt Markus will be covering the game on 91.3 WLVR.


Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond&…

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the…

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that's the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.