Girls fall to So. Lehigh
With back-to-back games against two of the better Colonial League teams, Northwestern head coach Chris Deutsch was hoping that his team would send a message that the Lady Tigers (14-3 overall, 9-3 Colonial League) were the team to beat. Instead, they came away with two losses. After falling to the Notre Dame Crusaders 46-29 last week, Southern Lehigh downed Northwestern Lehigh 51-34 Tuesday night.
“They exercised their will against us in the first half,” said Deutsch, whose team managed just nine first-half points and trailed by 18 at the break. “I don’t know why, but we seemed to be in awe of them and there’s no reason for us to play like that because I truly believe that we can compete with them and with Notre Dame.”
Right from the opening tip Southern Lehigh (13-3, 11-1) took over the game thanks primarily to two of its senior players, Olivia Snyder and Elizabeth Cassel. Snyder shot from all over the floor and scored 18 first-half points, while Cassel controlled the boards, pulling down eight rebounds before halftime.
Alexandra Lister (three points) and Sage Christopher (six points) were the only Northwestern players to score in the first half. In the third quarter, Southern Lehigh opened the lead to as much as 24 points when Snyder drove the lane and was fouled. Snyder, who will play college ball at Georgetown, converted the foul shot to put the Lady Spartans up 37-13. The Tigers’ Sydney Sevrain hit back-to-back baskets, the second one for three points, to cut the lead to 19 points by the end of the third quarter.
Snyder finished the game with 27 points and Cassel had 11 rebounds and three blocked shots on the night. Sevrain led Northwestern with 11 points and Christopher finished with nine.
“Olivia [Snyder] is going to get her points, but you can’t let her get 27,” said Deutsch. “We didn’t do things that we need to do either, like hitting foul shots. They were hitting every foul shot and we would hit one of two or not even any. We hit those shots, it at least helps to keep us in the game.”
Southern Lehigh finished the night 14-of-17 from the line, while Northwestern Lehigh was 5-for-12.
Northwestern lost to Southern Lehigh earlier this season by a 45-30 score. With an 0-3 mark and double-digit losses to two of the better teams in the league, the concern is that Southern Lehigh and Notre Dame (15-1, 13-0) could hold a distinct mental advantage over Northwestern in the postseason.
“That’s possible,” admitted Deutsch. “I don’t think that will happen though and it shouldn’t. Our girls have to believe that they’re better than what they showed against those two teams. We can’t come out and score just nine points in a half and expect to beat teams like that.
“We got on them at halftime and we played the game much better in the second half. They didn’t pull their starters and neither did we, but it was a different game in the second half.”
Snyder scored just nine of her points in the second half and Cassel was held to just three rebounds over the final 16 minutes. Deutsch credited Lister with playing tough defense on Snyder and making her work for her points.
Northwestern hosts Wilson (10-6, 8-4) for their final regular season home game of the year on Thursday. After that, the season wraps up with road games at Northern Lehigh (7-10, 5-7), Pen Argyl (7-9, 6-7), Salisbury (2-15, 2-10) and Catasauqua (2-14, 0-12).
“We have to play a full 32 minutes against teams and the truth is that we haven’t,” said Deutsch. “Even in a lot of our wins we play really well for a half and then let them back in the game and you can still win games against some teams like that, but not against teams like Southern Lehigh.
“It’s something for us to work on and we can do that. I still believe we are one of the best teams in the league and our girls should believe that, too.”