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Thursday, January 27, 2011 - page 2

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women’s basketball clears path
for first-place showdown

After its bus struggled to find open space on the snow-covered roads of suburban Philadelphia, the Muhlenberg women's basketball team struggled to find some breathing room against Haverford.

The Fords tied the game midway through the
Alexandra Berlin
Berlin went 4-for-4 from the line in the last 35 seconds.
second half, and although the Mules never relinquished their lead, they could not pull away.

But with less than six minutes to play and the
Kelly McKeon
McKeon moved into fifth place on the Mules' all-time scoring list with 1,079 points and helped Muhlenberg beat Haverford for the 37th straight time.
Mules up by two, freshman Leeann Lanza got her hands on a ball in the Haverford lane. She threw a quick outlet to junior Alexandra Chili who found senior Alexandra Berlin alone on the right wing.

Without a moment's hesitation, Berlin pulled up and buried the wide-open 3-pointer to extend the Muhlenberg lead to five.

Haverford would not get any closer as the Mules made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to close out a 67-57 win.

"Chili gave me a nice bounce pass and I just went for the three," Berlin said. "My shot hasn't been on lately, which has been frustrating. But I got an open look, so I didn't think and just took the shot, and luckily it went in."

It was fitting that Berlin's open look was the result of Lanza's steal. Muhlenberg's defense harassed the Fords (8-10, 5-8) all night. The Mules (13-4, 9-3) grabbed a season-high 21 steals and forced at least 30 turnovers for the third time this season.

"I think the pressure really got us going," freshman Erin Laney, who finished with seven points said. "Getting some tips and steals allowed us to get some easy shots. It's definitely a confidence boost for our team when we get steals, and it makes us want to play even harder."

While the Mule defense was getting into passing lanes and being disruptive, Chili was once again leading Muhlenberg's offense. She finished with a game-high 22 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to move into 23rd place on the Centennial Conference career scoring list with 1,322 points.

Berlin added 11 points and three steals, and senior Kelly McKeon added eight along with a career-high seven steals.

The win keeps the Mules in second place in the CC and sets up a showdown with first-place Johns Hopkins on Saturday at Memorial Hall. And while Berlin said she was pleased with the Mules' effort at Haverford, she added that the focus now is solely on Saturday's game.

"Yeah, we won this game, which is nice, but it's over," Berlin said. "We have a huge game on Saturday. We lost in overtime at their place so we really want to get this game and hopefully make a move into first place."

On the way to the game, Muhlenberg's bus could not fit under a low railroad underpass near the campus of Villanova Univerity. But with the help of Mule coach Ron Rohn, who got out to direct traffic, the bus was able to get into a parking lot and just barely turn around while about 40 Villanova students stopped to take pictures.
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