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Saturday, February 19, 2011 - page 2

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women’s basketball senior day
follows perfect script

Senior Day for the Muhlenberg women's basketball team could not have gone any better had it been scripted by Hollywood.

Seniors Alexandra Berlin, Sheila Cook and Kelly McKeon scored the Mules' first three buckets, and then each made
women's basketball seniors
The women's basketball class of 2011 has a career record of 87-22.
big plays down the stretch to help Muhlenberg close out a 67-61 win over Ursinus.

"I think we were a little nervous at the beginning," McKeon said. "We had to get ours nerves out, and after we did that I think we did well.

"We've had a great four years here. This has been a tremendous experience that I'll never forget, but I'm obviously very sad that it's over. I'm really going to miss this place."

It's not completely over for the Mule seniors, although it is unlikely they will play again at Memorial Hall, where they went 12-1 this season. Muhlenberg (19-5, 16-4) is the second seed for the Centennial Conference playoffs and will face Gettysburg in a semifinal game at Johns Hopkins next Saturday. Ursinus (15-10, 11-9) slipped to the No. 5 seed with the loss and will travel to Franklin & Marshall for a first-round game.

While all three seniors tried to contain their emotions during a pregame ceremony that included their teammates spelling out their names with their bodies, it did not take them long to get into game mode.

Berlin buried a 3-pointer from the left wing, before Cook converted a layup down low and
Alexandra Berlin
Berlin is the fourth Mule this season to record a double-double. Oddly enough, all four are guards.
McKeon buried a jumper to give the Mules' their first seven points.

The game remained tight, and the Mules clung to a one-point lead at the break. The two teams traded leads throughout most of the second half until Muhlenberg finally found some separation thanks to its three seniors, along with some help from junior Alexandra Chili

Berlin hit a left-handed driving layup and then found Chili on the right wing to extend the Mule lead to seven with less than five minutes remaining.

Then with the Mules up by five, McKeon created some disruption on defense that led to a Bear
Sheila Cook
Cook is 11th on Muhlenberg's all-time scoring list with 898 career points.
carry. On the ensuing possession, she threaded a pass to Cook on the low block for an easy layup.

That basket, Muhlenberg's final field goal of the day, put the Mules up seven with 1:24 to play. From there the Mules converted seven of eight free throws in the final minute to hold on for the win.

Berlin finished with 11 points and a team- and career-high 12 rebounds for her first career double-double. She also tied for the team lead with 5 assists.

For her, Senior Day held extra special meeting because of the way she was welcomed onto the team when she transferred in at the beginning of last season.

"I'm so grateful to all the girls on the team," Berlin said. "From day one everyone accepted me with open arms. I didn't have to try to fit in; it was just an automatic thing. I wish I could've been here for all four years, but even still, these past two years have been the best two years of my life."

While all three seniors were emotional before the game, no one showed it more than Cook, who joined Berlin in double figures with 10 points. With her mother stuck in traffic, Cook was set to be escorted onto the court by her young cousins wearing Mule hats.

But just as her name was called, her mother came running through the tunnel made by the team. It was at that point that Cook had to hold back tears.

"I thought I'd be a little more emotional, but I'm glad that I wasn't because I'm usually an emotional wreck. When I saw my mom running onto the court I almost lost it," Cook said. "This is really bittersweet. I'm thrilled that we won, but I'm sad it was my last game in Memorial Hall. I can't believe I'm never going to play here again."

McKeon pulled down 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists to move to within four of third place on the CC career assists list.

Chili led all scorers with 20 points, 18 of which came in the second half, and three 3-pointers to move to within four of the CC career record. Junior Kathleen Naddaff also poured in 10 points for the Mules.

Muhlenberg also recognized senior manager/student coach Eric Boskey, who has been with the team for four years and is so committed to the team he once broke his hand in frustration during an NCAA Tournament loss.

Note: The win marked the 200th victory of coach Ron Rohn's Muhlenberg career. With a record of 200-66, he became the fastest coach in Mule history to record 200 wins. Tomorrow's Mule Sports Daily will have much more on the milestone.
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