On a night when Liz Leer shattered the school’s career blocks record, the AU women’s basketball team saw their seven-game conference winning streak snapped by a 53-46 loss to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa., Saturday night.
Leer entered Saturday’s contest with 149 career blocks, three behind all-time leader Kirsten Keller. She broke the record with 6:39 left in the second half. For the game, she recorded five blocks to improve her total to 154.
Despite Leer’s milestone, the Eagles could not complete the season sweep of the Mountain Hawks. Michelle Kirk, the Patriot League’s leading scorer, was held to six points on 3-9 shooting, as the Eagles were held under 50 points for only the third time this season. AU struggled from long range, shooting 4-22 for the game and missing all 10 second-half attempts.
The game was back and forth in the early going, until a 10-0 AU run put the visitors ahead 15-8 with 11:39 remaining in the first half. The spurt included two three-pointers from Leer and two points each from freshman Stephanie Anya and junior Ashley Yencho.
With the Eagles leading 18-11, Lehigh would answer with their own 10-0 run. A three-pointer by Lehigh guard Alex Ross and a layup by guard Erica Prosser pulled the Mountain Hawks in front 21-18 with less than three minutes left in the opening half.
Lehigh opened up a sizable advantage with a 13-2 run early in the second half. Alex Ross’ second three-pointer of the game gave Lehigh its first double-digit lead, at 44-33 with 10:27 to play.
The Eagles would then trim the advantage to three and a Harris layup cut the Lehigh lead to 47-44 with 3:28 to play.
AU would then go cold down the stretch, as they missed their next five shots and scored only two points in the final 3:28. Lehigh knocked down their free throws to nail down the 53-46 win.
Leer was the only AU player in double figures, as she recorded 13 points to go along with her aforementioned five blocks. Three Lehigh players scored at least 10 points, led by Emily Gratch with 12.
Lehigh’s ability to get to the free throw line was a big factor in Saturday’s game. The Mountain Hawks were 16-24 from the free-throw line, while the Eagles were 4-5.
“It boiled down to Lehigh being the more aggressive team,” AU Head Coach Matt Corkery told AU athletics. “That was evident in them getting to the free-throw line almost 20 more times than we did tonight.”
The loss drops AU to 14-8 overall and 7-1 in conference play, placing them in a tie at the top of the PL with Lehigh. The Eagles next game will be on the road against the Bucknell Bison on Wednesday, Feb. 10.