Lehigh was content to pack the paint and force Army to shoot jumpers Monday night.
The strategy burned the Mountain Hawks in overtime.
Lehigh lost Libby Tacka near the Black Knights’ bench, allowing her to erase its one-possession lead with a 3-pointer. The Mountain Hawks then gave Destinee Morris too much space in the right corner as the clock dipped under 30 seconds.
Morris converted another 3-pointer to put fifth-seeded Army ahead to stay with 26.7 seconds to play. The Black Knights held on for a 62-60 win in a Patriot League women’s basketball quarterfinal at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem.
Army (17-13 overall) advanced to face top-seeded American in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Fourth-seeded Lehigh (15-15) ended its season in disappointment, losing its final two home games after starting the season 10-3 at Stabler Arena.
Army’s late success from 3-point range allowed it to celebrate while Lehigh left the court dejected. The Black Knights entered the Patriot League tournament shooting 27.1 percent from the arc this season. They connected on just 1-of-15 attempts from deep over the first 43 minutes Monday.
Army hit two of its three 3-point tries over the last 2 minutes of overtime.
“We kind of took our shot going zone,” Lehigh coach Sue Troyan said. “They were having their way with [Madison] Hovren inside. We were having a tough time defending her inside.
“In retrospect, we were up three when they hit the [first] 3. I don’t know if we needed to go zone there, but they hadn’t been real successful from the floor.”
Lehigh also struggled from long-range Monday, making just 3 of 14 3-pointers. It still erased an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit and had a chance to win on the final play of regulation.
The Mountain Hawks wanted to get the ball to senior guard Quinci Mann coming off a screen. Army denied her, leaving another senior guard, Bernadette Devaney, to take the final shot. Her runner from the right side missed, sending the game to overtime.
Lehigh led by as many as three points in OT. It still held a one-point edge when Hannah Hedstrom drove in for a layup with 41 seconds to go.
The Mountain Hawks competed hard all night. They surrendered too many offensive rebounds (17) to extend their season.
Sophomore Gena Grunhdoffer led Lehigh with a game-high 22 points. Another sophomore, Camryn Buhr, added 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Grundhoffer and Buhr should be the offensive focal points for Lehigh in 2018-19. But nobody wanted to think about the future Monday.
“It stings a lot, especially losing these three girls [Mann, Devaney and senior Mae Williams],” Grundhoffer said. “We like protecting Stabler, and we like getting wins here. We usually shoot really well and play really well here.
“It just hurts a lot to lose like this.”
Patriot League tournament points
1. Senior guard Quinci Mann scored 14 points in her final game at Lehigh. She ended her career with 1,526 points to finish sixth on the Mountain Hawks’ all-time scoring list.
2. Lafayette’s season also ended in the Patriot League quarterfinals, as it fell 55-35 at American. The Leopards shot just 21.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over 20 times.
3. Third-seeded Navy and second-seeded Bucknell won the other Patriot League quarterfinals. They will meet Thursday at Sojka Pavilion in the league’s other semifinal.