Women's Basketball Welcomes New Month With Win Over Garnet

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
 

Men’s basketball

Katy Rossino
Senior Katy Rossino led the Mules with five assists and pulled down a career-high six rebounds.
In the movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray lives the same day over and over again in Punxsutawney, Pa.

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team hopes to relive a similar plot this winter by overcoming a rough January with a strong run through February straight into the postseason.

The Mules got their script off to a good start by posting an 81-46 win over Swarthmore on the day before the actual Groundhog Day. The win keeps Muhlenberg (15-4, 10-4) in a tie with Franklin & Marshall in the loss column and sets up a showdown with the Diplomats for sole possession of second place in the Centennial Conference on Saturday.

For the second year in a row, Muhlenberg rolled through November and December undefeated before suffering four conference losses in January. Last year, the Mules rebounded by going 8-0 in February to win the conference title. And according to senior Alexandra Chili, they are hoping to do the same this season.

“Before the game we were talking about how January is over and we need to put it behind us,”

Laura Gregory
Freshman Laura Gregory was one of 13 Mules to register a field goal.
she said. “We talked about turning the page to February, because it’s the month that really counts. And I could not think of a better way to get it started.”

Muhlenberg was hot from the opening tip, hitting five of its first seven shots and five of its first seven 3-point attempts (all from Chili and junior Alita Zabrecky) to open up an 18-point lead less than nine minutes into regulation. The lead continued to grow until senior Kathleen Naddaff converted a layup for the final basket of the half, giving Muhlenberg a 42-17 lead at the break.

The Mules registered assists on 14 of their 16 first-half buckets, many of the highlight variety, and held a 27-16 lead on the glass.

With the game already in control, Muhlenberg continued its hot night as Chili drained a three from the right wing 57 seconds into the second half. It was the 300th of her career, making her just the 15th women’s player in Division III history to reach that milestone.

She added two more treys over the next 2:08 and finished with a game-high-tying 19 points, moving her into third place in conference history with 1,811 in her career.

But while Chili, who shot 6-of-9 from the field and 5-of-8 from three, said the personal accolades are great, she is much more concerned with team accomplishments.

“It’s nice to know, but they’re not really on my mind,” she said. “When my career’s over I’ll probably look back on them, but right now I’m just focused on winning games and getting us into postseason form.”

Zabrecky joined Chili with 19 points, while junior Kate Clawson chipped in eight. Senior Kathleen Naddaff and sophomore Leeann Lanza added six each.

For the first time in four games, Muhlenberg won the battle on the glass, pulling down 50 rebounds for the fourth time this season. Sophomore Katy Mitton tied for the team high with six boards.

“This is a huge confidence boost. We haven’t really shot well the past few games, and tonight we did,” Chili said of the 44.8 percent night from the field. “To play well and get a win like this is just what we needed to get back on the right track.”
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