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Defensive Battle Goes to Lehigh, 57-47

Brya Freeland netted 10 points and grabbed six rebounds

Feb. 18, 2012

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EASTON, Pa. - A strong defensive effort in the second half was not enough to overcome a 15-point halftime deficit, as the Lafayette women's basketball team fell to rival Lehigh, 57-47, on Saturday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center. Sarah McGorry and Danielle Fiacco each recorded a double-double for the Leopards.

With the loss, Lafayette falls to 8-19 overall and 2-10 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks sweep the season series from the Leopards and improve to 14-12 on the season with a 7-5 league tally.

McGorry's double-double consisted of a team-high 14 points and a game-best 12 boards. Fiacco had 11 rebounds and swatted 10 shots. She also scored seven points to come up just short of Lafayette's first-ever triple-double. The outing marked the second straight game - and third overall this season - in which two Leopards each recorded a double-double.

Emily Homan and Brya Freeland joined McGorry in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Madeline Fahan and Melissa Downey added two points apiece to round out the Lafayette scoring. Homan, Fiacco and Downey shared a team-high with three assists each.

Homan also tallied five blocks to contribute to a program-record 15 rejections for the game. The Leopards sent back 14 Quinnipiac offerings last season on Dec. 28, 2010 - the game in which Fiacco racked up her Lafayette and Patriot League-record 12 stuffs.

The Leopards were edged on the boards, 43-42, though Lehigh's slim advantage was aided by eight "team" rebounds caused primarily by blocked shots landing out-of-bounds. The Mountain Hawks converted 18 Lafayette turnovers into 15 points, while the Leopards managed seven points courtesy of 14 Lehigh miscues.

Lehigh's Kelly Peterson led all scorers with 19 points, and Emily Gratch added 13. Alexa Williams, who is the Mountain Hawks' leading scorer and the Patriot League's top rebounder this season, was held to eight points on 4-for-11 shooting and just three boards. Five of the seven missed field goals by one of the league's premier post players were courtesy of rejections by either Homan or Fiacco.

Freeland netted the first five points for the Leopards to give the home team a quick 5-3 lead, but Lehigh responded with the next seven tallies to grab a 10-5 advantage and force Dianne Nolan to take a 30-second timeout with 16:27 to go in the period. A 5-0 spurt extended the Mountain Hawks' cushion to 19-9. Lafayette would battle back within six at 23-17, but Lehigh, which connected on all five of its three-point attempts in the half, used the long ball to rebuild a double-digit advantage at 31-19 with less than four minutes left in the frame. The visitors closed the half on a 14-5 run over the last 5:31, and the Leopards headed to the locker room facing a 37-22 deficit.

Despite holding Lehigh to just eight points over the first 16:33 of the second half, the Leopards were unable to climb back within single digits until McGorry buried a three-pointer from the corner with just over six minutes left to play. After an empty trip each way, Lafayette's senior co-captain sank a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to seven points at 45-38 with 4:37 to go. The squads began trading points, which was enough for the margin to hold up at 51-44 with less than 90 seconds remaining. At that point, back-to-back buckets by Peterson pushed the Lehigh lead to 11. Freeland would drain a three-pointer on the ensuing Lafayette trip, but the Mountain Hawks responded with a fast-break layup on the game's last possession to round out a 57-47 final score.

The Leopards outscored Lehigh, 25-20, after the intermission and held a 26-22 advantage on the glass during the game's final 20 minutes. Fiacco posted five points, nine rebounds and eight blocks in the second half, and McGorry led all players with nine second-half points.

The Leopards travel to Hamilton, N.Y. on Wednesday eyeing a season sweep of Colgate. Lafayette downed the Raiders, 66-58, in Easton on Jan. 25. The Leopards have not swept a Patriot League foe since taking two from both Colgate and Lehigh in the 2007-08 season.

Action returns to Kirby Sports Center next Saturday, Feb. 25 for the final home game of the 2011-12 regular season. First-place American visits College Hill for a 3 p.m. contest that will be broadcast live on the Lafayette Sports Network and Seniors Downey, McGorry and Alexandra Serowoky will be honored prior to the game.