EASTON, Pa. – Junior Danielle Fiacco tallied 17 points to lead four Leopards with double-figure scoring as the Lafayette women’s basketball team picked up its first Patriot League win, beating archrival Lehigh on Saturday afternoon, 68-52.
Classmate Kelly Loughney netted 16 for the Leopards, while sophomore Emily Homan and classmate Linnel Macklin added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore Maddie Peabody also added a career-high nine points for the Maroon and White.
The 68 points put up by the Lafayette offense tied for its highest scoring output of the season (68 vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 1). The Leopards went 24-of-53 from the floor (45.3%) and knocked down 16 of their 20 free throw attempts (80%). Lafayette dominated on the glass, notching a 47-29 rebounding advantage for the game.
Fiacco’s game-high 17 points were poured in on 8-for-13 shooting from the field (61.5%), while adding six rebounds and five blocks. Peabody knocked down all six of her free throw attempts on the game to earn her nine-point total. The Mountain Hawks were led by Becky Guman’s 3-for-5 shooting day from three-point range, as she totaled 13 points.
Lehigh’s Kerry Kinek finally began the scoring after over three minutes of a 0-0 contest with a 15-footer from the right corner. That shot, along with a run-out from Hilary Weaver, were the only points of the contest going into the opening media timeout at 15:40 on the clock.
The Leopards were able to manage points at the 13:46 mark, as a Fiacco running floater from the left box cut the lead to four at 6-2. Turnovers plagued the Leopards throughout the opening minutes as they gave it away nine times in less than ten minutes compared to just two field goals.
Two free throws from Loughney at the 7:45 mark cut the Mountain Hawks’ lead to one at 13-12. After a missed Kinek jumper on the other end, Loughney’s 10-foot jumper from the right elbow fell through to give Lafayette the lead, 14-13, with seven minutes to play in the half.
At the 4:50 mark, Macklin seemed to be eyeing up an entry pass down to Homan on the low block. Instead, she spotted up well behind the three-point arc and drained the triple to give the Leopards the eight-point lead, 23-15.
O’Hare’s shot from distance at the 2:29 mark made the lead nine at 29-20, tying for Lafayette’s largest lead since the Brown contest on Jan. 5. Loughney’s jumper a minute later topped that mark, giving Lafayette the 11-point advantage and the Leopards went into the locker room up by 13 after a Fiacco lay-up, 33-20.
Lafayette picked up right where it left off to begin the second stanza as junior Kristan Liddle found Homan at the 17:36 mark to give the Leopards the 39-24 lead. That helper was Liddle’s fifth assist of the contest and she finished with seven, a new career-high.
Two threes from Lehigh’s Becky Guman with under 15 minutes to play brought Lehigh within eight at 43-35. That score would hold until Yantzi’s triple with 12:24 on the clock cut the lead to five, 43-38.
Lafayette didn’t allow that lead to disappear, though, as Homan’s turnaround lay-up and free throw at the 9:42 mark put the Leopards back on top by eight, 48-40.
The game stayed within 8-10 points for the next six minutes as the Leopards used a major edge in rebounding to force one-and-done opportunities on the defensive end and second-chance opportunities on the offensive end. Macklin’s triple with 2:50 to go and Peabody’s free throws at the 2:25 mark extended the Lafayette lead to 17, its largest of the contest, to make the score, 64-47.
From there, the Leopards ran out the clock on their first Patriot League victory of the season, 68-52. The win marks Lafayette’s first over Lehigh since Jan. 22, 2011, when it took down the Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa., 57-54.