The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s basketball splits games against Lehigh, Navy

Senior+guard+Makayla+Andrews+shoots+in+the+paint+during+the+victory+over+Lehigh.+%28Photo+by+George+Varkanis+for+GoLeopards%29
Senior guard Makayla Andrews shoots in the paint during the victory over Lehigh. (Photo by George Varkanis for GoLeopards)

The women’s basketball team (10-17 overall, 5-11 Patriot League) avenged its overtime loss to Lehigh (15-12 overall, 7-9 Patriot League) earlier in the season by taking down the Mountain Hawks 68-63 in Bethlehem last Saturday. The Leopards then fell to Navy (11-16 overall, 7-9 Patriot League) by a score of 58-49 on Wednesday night.

The win against Lehigh came just a couple of weeks after a devastating overtime loss against the Mountain Hawks.

“Losing in overtime is such a difficult thing, especially against Lehigh, which is our rival,” junior guard Halee Smith said. “But just doing the same things that we did the first time we played them, working on the little tweaks that we had throughout the game to make sure that it wasn’t as close so that we wouldn’t go into overtime again.”

Down 15-9 at the end of the first quarter, the Leopards put up 21 points in the second quarter to go into halftime down 33-30.

Senior guard Makayla Andrews put up 20 points on an efficient 8-for-12 shooting performance, leading the offense.

“In the beginning of the game, I definitely felt more in rhythm,” Andrews said. “I definitely was finding my little spots within the offense.”

Finishing the first half with some momentum, the battle became avoiding second-half woes.

“The third quarter has always kind of been our Achilles heel throughout the season, and we really wanted to hone in coming out strong in that third quarter,” Andrews said.

The Leopards locked in defensively, holding Lehigh to just eight points in the third quarter to go up 46-41 by the end of the period.

“Lehigh is a very big team on movement, and in the two practices leading up to the game, all we did was practice how they’re gonna come off of screens, what kind of screens they’re going to set and how we’re going to defend those screens,” sophomore guard Kay Donahue said.

On the offensive end, Donahue contributed by getting to the foul line. While the Leopards were decimated at the foul line in the first matchup against Lehigh by a margin of 19 attempts to four, the team got to the line on Saturday for 21 attempts to Lehigh’s 14, with Donahue accounting for 10 of those.

“I think we definitely just attacked them a lot more and I think obviously calls were going our way,” Donahue said. “I didn’t even know that I went to the free throw line 10 times until after the game, but yeah, I played a more aggressive game.”

The Leopards’ lead reached double digits in the fourth quarter, and as the Mountain Hawks sought to mount a comeback, the Leopards fought to remain composed.

“We’ve been in moments like this before when you’ve been up or we’ve been close, and we’ve been in the lead, and then we lose that lead,” Andrews said.

Andrews emphasized the importance of “showing that we can close out the game with the win whether it’s close or whether it’s a blowout.”

Ultimately, the Leopards prevailed with a 68-63 victory, with the team looking to build off the rivalry win to generate some momentum for the rest of the season.

“We all know that we’re last in the league right now, but we’re not taking that into consideration,” Smith said. “When we’re playing each game, we’re playing each game like it’s an opportunity to get a win.'”

The Leopards could not maintain their momentum, falling to Navy 58-49 on Wednesday night.

The Maroon and White once again got off to a slow start, trailing 20-7 after the first quarter. The team fought to claw its way back into the game in the third, cutting the Navy lead to three points at several points in the second half.

Junior guard Abby Antognoli, who shot just 16.7 percent from the field Wednesday night, made her points count. She sank two crucial three-pointers in the second half that brought the Leopards within striking distance of the Midshipmen, one being a buzzer-beater half-court shot to end the third.

However, the Leopards were unable to capitalize on these points, and Navy pulled away down the stretch to coast to a comfortable victory.

“We just need to hone in on defense in the first quarter and moving the ball on offense,” Andrews said. “That first half really shot us in the foot and we couldn’t dig ourselves out that hole.”

In spite of the loss, the team remains determined to close out the season strong.

“Learning from our mistakes and moving on, we can’t really dwell on the past,” Andrews said. “We can just see what happens, assess it, and then move on and apply what we learned to the next game.”

The Leopards will host Bucknell tomorrow for Senior Day in Kirby Sports Center at 2 p.m.

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Benjamin White, Staff Sports Writer

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