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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, December 4, 2010

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women's basketball uses stifling defense
to blow past Washington

 Kathleen Naddaff
Junior Kathleen Naddaff scored 6 points and led the Mules with 6 rebounds.
Men's basketball falls in final seconds

The Muhlenberg men’s basketball team, which has a history of tough losses at Washington College, suffered another one when the Shoremen hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining to pull out a 77-76 win.

The Mules (5-2, 1-2) trailed by 12 points with 8:30 left in the first half but rallied to tie the game before halftime. The second half was tight throughout, with 10 lead changes and neither team opening up a margin of more than five points.

Muhlenberg took the lead for the final time when freshman Austin Curry sliced through the lane for a layup to make it 74-73 with 3:02 left. Neither team scored again until Curry swished both ends of a one-and-one with 32.1 seconds to play.

Washington (3-4, 2-1) missed a potential game-tying three-pointer on its next possession but got the offensive rebound and scored on a layup with 11.2 showing on the clock. The Mules could not inbound the ball and were called for a 5-second violation, and Shoreman Kevin Breslin was fouled while driving to the basket. He made both free throws, and Muhlenberg could only manage a long three-point attempt at the final buzzer.

Curry scored a career-high 26 points, and junior Spencer Liddic had a huge game with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

The Mules have won only four of 19 games in Chestertown since the formation of the Centennial Conference, with three of the losses coming in overtime and seven by seven points or fewer. Coming on the heels of Wednesday's 59-58 win against Swarthmore, this marks the first time Muhlenberg has played back-to-back one-point games since the 1985-86 season.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

Early in the second half of Muhlenberg’s women’s basketball game at Washington, the Shorewomen were attempting to inbound the ball under their own basket. The first pass in was deflected back out of bounds by Alexandra Chili. The second pass was tipped and caught by Chili, but she was standing out of bounds when she caught it.

Chili batted the third try back out of bounds. Finally, on the fourth attempt from the same spot, Washington got the ball inbounds. And things didn’t come much easier for the Shorewomen there.

The Mules used a superb second-half defensive effort to overcome a two-point halftime deficit and defeat Washington, 68-47, for their sixth straight win to start the season.

Muhlenberg (6-0, 3-0) outscored the Shorewomen by a 41-18 margin in the second half, holding them to five field goals and 16.7-percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

It was a near carbon copy of Thursday’s win against Swarthmore, in which the 20th-ranked Mules were tied at halftime but rolled to a 19-point win in the second half.

“Being that we’re a nationally ranked team, other teams really come out strong against us. They came out fired up, and the first half was tough,” explained senior Sheila Cook. “When we keep running and running, we tend to wear them down and then pull away in the second half.”
Sheila Cook
Cook scored 8 of her 12 points in the second half.

Down 29-27 at the break, Muhlenberg did plenty of running to start the second half. A three-pointer by sophomore Alita Zabrecky gave the Mules the lead for good at 32-29, forcing a Washington timeout. The Shorewomen (3-4, 1-2) missed their first shot after the timeout, and senior Alexandra Berlin grabbed the rebound and threw a long pass to Zabrecky for a layup.

Muhlenberg’s lead was only two points, 39-37, five minutes into the second half before the defense really kicked in. The Mules kept the Shorewomen without a field goal for more than eight minutes, going on a 20-2 run to turn the close game into a runaway.

“We have a pretty good offense,” said Cook, “but the fact that we can get defensive stops is what’s going to win games for us. There are always going to be games when we’re not going to hit shots.”

This wasn’t one of them, at least in the second half. The Mules shot 56.3 percent in the second half, led by Zabrecky’s 5-for-7 performance. She scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. Chili finished with 14 points, and Cook scored a season-high 12.

“I’m slowly starting to hit my stride,” said Cook, who was Muhlenberg’s third-leading scorer last year but came in averaging just 5.0 points per game this year. “It’s been the craziest semester of my life. Hopefully I’ll peak at the right point. Fortunately, the team’s been able to manage just fine without me.”

Berlin contributed 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists to the win, and junior Katy Rossino had a career-high 7 assists with only 1 turnover.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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