WOMEN'S BASKETBALL OVERCOMES LEHIGH, 55-50, IN 2OT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) scored six of her game-high 15 points in two overtime periods as the Monmouth University women's basketball team defeated Lehigh, 55-50, in double overtime Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena. With the win, the Hawks improve to 2-3 and become unofficial winners of the Thanksgiving Challenge for the second-consecutive year. The Mountain Hawks fall to 2-3 with the loss.
The Hawks held Lehigh without a field goal for the last 12:29 of regulation and the first 2:34 of overtime, covering more than 15 consecutive minutes. Danica Dragicevic (Belgrade, Serbia/XV Beogradska Gimnazija) scored a career-high 10 points, all in the second half, and Abigail Martin (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia) also chipped in 10 points.
Lindsay Hoskins led Lehigh with 10 points, while Kerry Kinek scored nine points and had a team-high nine rebounds in 26 foul-plagued minutes.
Neither team could establish much offensive rhythm in the first half, with Lehigh outshooting Monmouth, 36.0 percent (9-25) to 20.0 percent (6-30), from the floor. The Hawks kept it close by forcing 13 Lehigh turnovers. The Mountain Hawks established an early 8-2 lead before three-straight Paalvast jumpers tied the game at 8-8 with 12:42 left in the first half.
Lehigh reopened a six point lead on a pair of three-pointers and the advantage eventually worked up to eight points, 20-12, on Kinek's long jumper from straightaway with 5:05 left in the half. A Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) free throw and a Shira Shecht (Pardessiya, Israel/Haddasim) floater as the shot clock expired with 3:01 left closed out the first-half scoring. Paalvast led the Hawks with six points at the break, while Kinek led Lehigh with eight points.
The Hawks gradually whittled away at the Mountain Hawks' lead in the second half before Dragicevic's jumper in the paint at the 13:44 mark gave Monmouth its first lead of the game, 25-24. Lehigh fought back with five-straight points, but again Dragicevic made consecutive short jumpers to tie the game at 29-29. Lehigh established a five-point lead from the free-throw line, before another two short buckets from Dragicevic and a fast-break jumper from Womack gave Monmouth a one-point lead, 39-38, with 4:08 left in regulation.
Kasey Chambers (Belmar, N.J./St. Rose) stole the inbounds pass following Womack's bucket, got fouled and made two free throws to put Monmouth up by three with 4:02 left in regulation. Three free throws from Lehigh sent the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, Paalvast knocked down a jumper as the shot clock was winding down to put the Hawks up by two, before Peterson's desperation heave from beyond the NBA three-point line, which appeared to come after the shot clock expired, drew nothing but twine, giving Lehigh a one-point lead. Martin made 1-of-2 free throws with 26 seconds remaining to send the game into a second overtime.
Monmouth sprinted out to a six-point lead in the second overtime on the strength of 1-of-2 free throws from Womack, a Hawks' offensive rebound on the second, and a three-pointer from the senior guard on the ensuing possession. Paalvast capped the run with a lay-up with 2:26 remaining. The Mountain Hawks would draw to within no closer than four points the rest of the way and the Hawks secured the victory.
For the game, Monmouth outshot Lehigh, 30.2 percent (19-63) to 26.2 percent (16-61) from the floor. Lehigh took a 14.8 percent (4-27) to 10.0 percent (1-10) edge from long range and an 87.5 percent (14-16) to 57.1 percent (16-28) advantage from the free-throw line. Monmouth forced 28 Lehigh turnovers, while coughing it up 15 times. The Hawks held a 24-6 edge in points off turnovers.
The Hawks return to action Friday, when they travel to Annapolis, Md., to take part in the Navy Classic. The Hawks will face High Point at 3:30 p.m. at Alumni Hall, before playing retaking the floor Saturday against either the host Midshipmen or East Carolina, depending on Friday's results. Saturday's game will be played at 6 p.m. if the Hawks win or 3:30 p.m. if they lose on Friday.