A Cool Dozen!! American 50, Lehigh 47 Feb 16, 2019 14:51:02 GMT -5
Post by notjuanjones on Feb 16, 2019 14:51:02 GMT -5
Honestly, we got away with one today.
Maybe it was the noon tip, but AU was sluggish out of the gate and for long stretches against the Mountain Hawks. Well, let me amend the preceding sentence-the Mountain Hawks had something to do with it, too. For much of the game, they were the better team, and looked like they would end our 21-game home win streak in PL play. But, as has been the case many days and nights during this streak, the Eagles found a way. Down seven with 3:52 left, AU rallied, finally getting some stops on Lehigh's Camryn Buhr and making some huge plays down the stretch, led by Katie Marenyi and Cecily. It seems like it's always those two, doesn't it?
It was an uphill climb all day. Lehigh was up 9-1 five minutes in, as their defense extended us well outside where we normally operate. They have length and good quickness, and used both defensively. We were stuck in sand. But a post up by Cecily with 3:52 left in the first finally got us going, and in a big way. We went on a 21-6 run over the next 12 minutes, spanning the end of the first and most of the second. We limited them to perimeter looks and were able to turn them over multiple times. The deficit was just 13-12, then, after one, and a steal and transition bucket by Jade Edwards early in the second gave AU its first lead of the game.
A good high-low from Taylor Brown to Morgan Bartner put us back up one two minutes later, with another Jade rip and fast-break basket, followed by a Marenyi layup from Kaitlyn Lewis, making it 20-15 with six minutes left in the half. But that's where our momentum pretty much ended. We had so many chances to bust the game open, but missed open threes and layups, and that let Lehigh stay in the game. We didn't score for four minutes, until Jade's third basket of the quarter put us up seven with 1:56 left. We led 22-17 at the half, but the Mountain Hawks had time to recalibrate.
They did, in a big way, in the third. Free throws by Lewis gave AU its biggest lead, 28-19, with 7:55 to go in the third. But from there, Buhr abused her matchup with Marenyi. Katie did everything she could, but Buhr is bigger and could just shoot over her, which she did, frequently.
Gena Grundhoffer's corner three got a kind bounce high up and in for Lehigh, and the Mountain Hawks were off on a 12-0 run. Buhr posted up for two. Hailey Pascoe made two from the line at 6:40 to pull Lehigh within two. Buhr's three with 4:55 to go in the quarter put Lehigh back up, 29-28; Buhr posted up for two more seconds later, and the Hawks were up three. Cecily (of course) finally ended the run by getting great post position for a layup, but Buhr scored twice more before the end of the quarter, to give her 11 for the quarter and to give Lehigh a 35-33 lead after three.
It looked bleak the first four minutes of the fourth, too. We continued to operate on the perimeter. Our guards struggled to break Lehigh's down off the dribble, and we couldn't get the ball inside to Cecily. We didn't score on five straight possessions, and Taylor missed two free throws. Fortunately, Lehigh missed a couple of open jumpers, and scored just two points themselves the first five minutes of the fourth. So we were able to maintain contact during the drought. And, we got a break when Grundhoffer looked like she would get an and-one on a nice cut, drawing the foul on Jade as she went in for a layup. But it just spun out. Still, it was 40-33 after Griundhoffer split two from the line with 4:34 left, and we were in trouble.
But this team's got a lot of heart.
Elina made two of two from the line at 4:14. Buhr's offensive rebound and putback kept Lehigh up seven, 42-35, but Kaitlyn made a nice entry to Cecily down low for a basket at 3:31 to make it 42-37. We got a stop, and Cecily hit the offensive glass to draw a foul with 2:58 to go. She knocked them both in to draw AU within three. Buhr got fouled by Jade, but only made one of two at the 2:32 mark.
Then came the sequence of the game. Grundhoffer missed a three, but Pascoe tracked down the offensive rebound for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks called time, but Katie came through again off the timeout, ripping Pascoe and starting the fast break the other way. And Katie kept going, finishing over Buhr and drawing the foul with 1:27 to go. She made the free throw to complete the three-point play; instead of being down six or seven late, we were within one, 43-42. Pascoe missed a three; Jade got the defensive board. We got a break when Lehigh doubled Jade off the miss, but then fouled her 90 feet from the basket, with the call going again Buhr. Our freshman went to the line with 56 seconds to go and drained both free throws to put AU back up, 44-43.
With everyone thinking Buhr, Lehigh's junior guard calmly found Cameryn Benz open, and Benz's paint score put Lehigh back up one, 45-44, with 40 seconds left. We called time, and Grundhoffer again did us a favor by fouling Cecily 20 feet from the ball with 27 seconds to go. Cecily rattled in both free throws, and we were up one again. Buhr got a good look off a timeout, but she (finally) missed, and Katie went up to get the board in traffic, getting fouled by Benz with 15 seconds left.And Katie knocked them both in to put us up three. Lehigh opted to go for two, but took too long to score; when Mary Clougherty's jumper went in, there were just five seconds left, and Lehigh didn't have any more timeouts, so they couldn't stop the clock and advance the ball to midcourt after free throws. They gave the foul with four seconds left, putting Cecily back on the line. And the senior came through with two more. Lehigh had to go 94 feet, and couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded, and we'd won again.
Cecily led the way offensively with 20 points. Jade had a double-double-12 points and 10 rebounds. Katie scored five of her eight points in the fourth quarter. We won despite shooting just 31 percent from the floor, which included...1 of 21 on threes-a robust 4.8 percent. Geesh. Buhr had 23 points to lead Lehigh, which fell to 15-8 and 7-5 in the PL.
We're now 15-8, 12-1 in the PL. Still in first. Still winning, even when we don't play our best. A really gutsy team for which I am proud to root.
On to Boston!