Saturday, November 26, 2016

Norfolk State Powers Past Lehigh 81-57 at Christmas City Classic

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – Four players scored in double figures for Norfolk State to help lead the Spartans past Lehigh 81-57 on Saturday at Stabler Arena. Junior Quinci Mann led Lehigh with 13 points, sophomore Hailey Pascoe had eight points and freshman Cameryn Benz added seven points, five rebounds and two steals. Freshman Gena Grundhoffer registered nine points and three rebounds. Fellow freshman Hannah Hedstrom and senior Kiernan McCloskey led the team with six rebounds apiece and sophomore Bryce Menendez collected six points and two rebounds. Lehigh (4-2) will now play in Sunday's consolation game against Monmouth, while Norfolk State (2-3) advances to play Hartford in the Christmas City Classic Championship.

The Spartans turned in their best shooting performance of the season by shooting (32-for-60) 53.3 percent for the game, including a sizzling 73.3 percent (11-for-15) in the second quarter. Lehigh shot just 30.6 percent from the field and was 6-for-22 from three-point range. NSU junior Kayla Roberts led the way for the Spartans with 23 points and 14 rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting. She was one of four NSU players in double figures along with Gabrielle Swinson who had 15 points and seven rebounds. Norfolk State also held a 46-24 advantage in the paint and outscored Lehigh 16-0 on the fast break.

After falling behind 2-0, Lehigh grabbed its only lead of the game within the first minute when Camryn Buhr drained a three pointer, followed by a Grundhoffer layup to give the Mountain Hawks a 5-2 advantage. NSU answered with 13 of the next 17 points to take a 15-9 lead at the 4:24 mark of the opening quarter. A free throw by Bernadette Devaney got Lehigh within 15-12 with 3:27 to go in the first, but that was as close as Lehigh would get for the remainder of the game as the Spartans carried a 22-14 lead into the second quarter.

The Spartans blew the game wide open in the second quarter, spurred by a 21-4 run to open up a 46-21 edge. McCloskey collected an offensive rebound off a missed three-point attempt in the final seconds and put in a layup to beat the buzzer and cut the deficit to 46-23 going into halftime.

"I thought in the first half, the shots didn't fall and that led to a lack of intensity on the defensive end, and I think that's a good learning lesson to take away from this game," said head coach Sue Troyan. "I thought when we starting missing shots, we stopped getting back and allowed them some really easy buckets in transition. And give credit to Norfolk State, I thought they came out and really set the tone on the defensive end."

Strode drove coast to coast for a fast break layup to give NSU a 55-26 lead early in the third quarter, forcing a Lehigh timeout. The Spartans followed with another basket for their largest lead of the game at 57-26 at the midway point of the quarter. Pascoe and Menendez then sparked Lehigh with 14 points, including a pair of triples from Pascoe and a spin move in the lane from Menendez to help get Lehigh within 21 in the final minute of the quarter.

"I thought Bryce played really well. She brought athleticism and size and played with confidence," Troyan said. "And some of Hailey's shots started falling there as well. It was just one of those games where we didn't make a lot of shots early in the game, and then when we did start making shots, we got some defensive stops.

"Monmouth is a strong team. Hopefully we can take some lessons from this game and come back tomorrow and apply them against Monmouth."

Sunday's second and final day of the tournament at Stabler Arena will begin with Lehigh and Monmouth at 2 p.m., followed by the title game between Hartford and Norfolk State. Hartford defeated Monmouth 75-72 on Saturday to advance to Sunday's championship game.



No comments: