March 2, 2013
Army 62, Lehigh 52
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Down 13 with 12 minutes to play, Army women’s basketball went on a 31-9 run to wrap up regular-season play with a 62-52 win against Lehigh on Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena. Anna Simmers celebrated Senior Day with her second consecutive 20-plus point game as she tallied a game-high 21, including 16 in the Black Knights’ explosive second half in what was Army’s largest comeback win in over three years.
Simmers was one of two Black Knights in double figures as freshman Kelsey Minato chipped in 17, including 13 in the final 20 minutes. Army (22-7, 11-3 Patriot League) remains in second place in the Patriot League standings while Lehigh (14-15, 6-8 PL) solidified its spot at No. 5. The Black Knights will be watching the first-place Navy and sixth-place Bucknell game closely tonight, as a Midshipmen loss would hand Army the regular-season title due to tiebreakers.
It was a tale of two halves as the Black Knights sputtered through the first 20 minutes, leading for a mere 25 seconds (9:06-8:41) thanks to shooting just 7-of-30 from the floor, including a shoddy 2-of-15 mark from outside. Conversely, Lehigh shot above its season average, making 39.1 percent of its tries, including 4-of-8 from three. The Mountain Hawks took a 26-19 lead into the intermission. Army entered the game just 2-5 in contests which it trailed at halftime.
Lehigh cushioned its lead up to double figures (31-21) shortly into the second half before the Black Knights made their first run, 8-0, to cut the deficit to five with 15:20 to play as Simmers and Minato drained back-to-back threes.
The Mountain Hawks responded with an 8-0 run of their own as their lead ballooned back up to 13 (43-30) with 13 minutes left on the clock. Lehigh kept a double-digit lead until junior Jen Hazlett knocked down a triple with 10:40 remaining, as the Black Knights began knocking on the Mountain Hawks’ door. Hazlett’s three marked the start of a 26-7 run through the final 10 minutes of the contest which included eight points by Simmers.
Army took its first lead since the 9:06 mark in the first half with just 4:44 to play as the Black Knights used the momentum caused from a Lehigh offensive foul to fuel a three-pointer by Minato. The Mountain Hawks tied the score, 52-52, with 3:49 to play, but Army regained the lead just 21 seconds later which it would never relinquish.
Lehigh scored just one point in the final six minutes to Army’s 15, as Simmers locked down the Black Knight defense, forcing five Mountain Hawk turnovers during that span.
Lehigh shot 38 percent in the second, but Army’s 50-percent clip from three, six long-range buckets and 43 points sealed the come-from-behind victory for the Black Knights. The 13-point comeback was Army’s largest since Nov. 21, 2009, when the Black Knights found themselves down 13 to Delaware State and collected a 57-50 win over the Hornets.
Kelly Peterson led the Lehigh offense with 17 points and five rebounds, while freshman Kerry Kinek chipped in 10 points and three blocks, but was hamstrung by six turnovers. The Mountain Hawks coughed the ball up 19 times, marking the fourth consecutive game Army has caused 17 or more miscues. The Black Knights scored 26 points off those turnovers, just three days after forcing 31 miscues by Holy Cross which also resulted in 26 points.
Army outrebounded Lehigh 38-34 as Hazlett was just one board and one point shy of her second double-double of the season. Hazlett and freshman Aimee Oertner snagged four offensive rebounds apiece, as Army led off the offensive glass 16-8.
Army’s opponent for its Patriot League Quarterfinal contest has yet to be determined, but the Black Knights will host either Bucknell, Lafayette or Colgate Thursday night at Christl Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Army ended regular-season Patriot League play with 11 conference wins for the first time since 2006-07 and third time overall … Army’s 22 wins rank second-most in Black Knight Division I history … Army earned its first regular-season sweep of Lehigh since 2006-07 … Lehigh leads the all-time series 28-25 … head coach Dave Magarity improved to 7-9 against Lehigh and is 121-87 all-time at Army … Magarity is two wins shy of tying Harold Johnson (1980-87) for No. 2 on Army’s all-time wins list, and is 11 shy of the all-time leader Lynn Chiavaro (1987-98; 132 wins) … Army’s Senior Day starting lineup included firstie Kimberlyn Martin who made her first career start and played a season-high 13 minutes.