Balanced Effort Leads Women's Basketball to Scotty Wood Title

Saturday, November 19, 2011
 

Alita Zabrecky
Zabrecky has been the Mules’ leading scorer in all three games this season.
Moments after Muhlenberg women’s basketball freshman Hannah Rush hit a 3-pointer from the right wing in the first half of the Scotty Wood Tournament championship game, an impressed fan in the stands simply said, “Geez, a lot of weapons.”

And the Mules used all of those weapons as seven players scored at least five points each to help Muhlenberg claim its 10th Scotty Wood title with a 74-63 win over New Jersey.

It’s Muhlenberg’s second straight Scotty Wood title, and according to sophomore Leeann Lanza, was the hardest test of the season thus far.

“It was a really tough game; I think they were the best team we’ve played so far,” she said. “We really wanted to come out pumped up, especially considering it’s Scotty Wood. We always want to win our own tournament and not see another team celebrating on our home court.”

Nicole Pepe
Freshman Nicole Pepe scored the first points of her career on a jumper midway through the first half.
The game started out close as the Lions (2-1) found a way to break Muhlenberg’s pressure defense, which created some easy layup opportunities.

They led by one at the 12:12 mark, but the Mules (3-0) outscored New Jersey, 16-5, in the final six minutes of the first half to grab a 16-point lead at the break. Muhlenberg then scored the first nine points of the second half to blow the game open. The Mules held a 20-point lead for most of the second half before coasting to the win.

Junior Alita Zabrecky and senior Alexandra Chili led the team with 12 points apiece. They were both named to the all-tournament team, and Chili added her second straight Scotty Wood Tournament MVP award. She is just the second player to win the award twice and the first to do it in back-to-back years.

Sophomore Erin Laney scored 10 to reach double figures for the second time this season, and Rush chipped in nine.

“Everybody on this team is capable of scoring every night,” said Lanza. “There aren’t any players that just play defense; everyone gets their opportunities to score. And as long as everyone is going at the basket, I think it will be tough to keep us completely down.”

Muhlenberg also won the rebounding battle, holding a 47-38 edge on the glass, led by seven from Zabrecky and six from Chili.

The win was extra special for Lanza because she was playing against one of her high school teammates, who is a starting guard for the Lions. They played together for seven years, and Lanza said it was an odd sight to see her on the other side of the floor.

But after finishing with eight points and four rebounds in the Mules’ win, she said she feels like she made a really good impression on her friend.

“It was really different. I can’t remember the last time I played against her,” Lanza said. “Seeing her on the other side of the court was really weird, but it was also very exciting because I know how well she is doing at TCNJ, and I wanted to show her how well we are doing here. And I think we showed her that we are a really good team.”
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