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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, December 18, 2010

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women’s basketball wraps up perfect start

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the gym, not a creature could believe the shot that just went through the rim.

Junior Alexandra Chili brought down the house with her circus shot early in the second half as the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 67-53 win at Montclair State.

The Mules, playing for the first time in 11 days and for the last time in 2010, led 46-30 and were working the ball around on offense when sophomore Alita Zabrecky spotted Chili cutting along the baseline Alexandra Chili from the right side. Zabrecky, on the left wing, lobbed an alley-oop pass to Chili, who jumped and caught it under the basket, and in the same motion got off a left-handed reverse layup that kissed off the glass and had the right spin to fall in.

“We don’t work on that – it just happened to be the perfect pass in the perfect spot for Chili to do that,” said Zabrecky. “It was awesome, especially the way it teetered on the rim and then went in. I’m Alita Zabrecky pretty sure I screamed her name on the way back on defense. It was pretty cool.”

(Note: we hope to have video of the play soon.)

A sizable Muhlenberg crowd on hand screamed the names of Chili (left) and Zabrecky(right) throughout the game. The duo combined for 49 of the Mules’ 67 points, with Chili pouring in 27 and Zabrecky a career-high 22.

Chili scored 11 points in the first 9:07 alone, helping Muhlenberg – not showing any signs of rust after the long layoff – sprint out to a 25-4 lead. The Mules (8-0) cooled off their pace and made only one field goal the rest of the half, allowing the Red Hawks (4-6) to cut the margin to seven.

Muhlenberg made another big run to start the second half, with Zabrecky scoring 9 points, including two layups after steals, in the first 7:33 to push the lead up to 22, at 52-30. Montclair again attempted a comeback but never got closer than eight points.

“It’s mentally hard to stay focused when all your friends are packing up and moving out,” said Zabrecky of playing after the break for finals. “Then we got the big lead and lost our focus again, and they started to catch up little by little.”

But the Red Hawks never caught up entirely. Chili added 5 assists and 3 steals, while Zabrecky had 5 steals and a pair of assists for the Mules, who will head into the holiday break undefeated for the first time in four years.

“Going 8-0 into Christmas is a gift itself,” said Zabrecky.
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