Women's Basketball 2013-14 Season Review

 

 

Colleen Caldwell
Caldwell finished her career with 217 assists, good for 11th in Muhlenberg history.
Though the 2013-14 season started in unfamiliar territory, some things never change with the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team.

For the first time since 2005, the Mules began the season without a returning all-conference player. Despite the question marks, they still managed to uphold a longstanding tradition. Muhlenberg qualified for the Centennial Conference playoffs for the ninth straight season, earning its 20th postseason berth in the 21-year history of the CC.

For that, the Mules, who finished with an overall record of 16-10, can thank a breakout star and a balanced supporting cast.

Junior Leanna Tallamy had a breakout season in ensuring that Muhlenberg will begin the 2014-15 campaign with an All-CC honoree on the roster. After logging just over eight minutes per game as a sophomore, Tallamy exploded onto the scene from the opening tip, giving the Mules a first-team all-conference performer for the ninth straight year with one of the best seasons in program history.

Leeann Lanza
One of Lanza's blocks preserved a thrilling victory over Gettysburg in the closing seconds of regulation.
Tallamy finished second in the CC in scoring at 17.0 points per game, becoming only the eighth Muhlenberg women to reach the 400-point mark in a single year (442). Her 8.2 rebounds per contest ranked sixth in the CC, and she finished just three offensive boards shy of the school record (105). That wasn’t the only mark she put in danger.

Tallamy made 152 free throws, attempting 77 more than any other CC player and shattering a 22-year school record. A three-time conference player of the week, she also became the first Mule to lead the team in scoring in 10 straight games.

That brilliant stretch coincided with Muhlenberg turning its season around. The Mules opened the season with four straight wins and the Scotty Wood Tournament title, but found themselves at 5-6 after a loss at McDaniel in early January. Starting with a home victory over defending CC champion Gettysburg, the Mules won seven of their next eight games to right the ship, bolstered by Tallamy’s consistent brilliance and a newly-installed zone defense.

Muhlenberg reeled off five straight victories during that time, including thrilling results at Johns Hopkins, which was 10-0 in the CC and reached the league title game, and at home against McDaniel, an eventual CC semifinalist. In the latter, senior Erin Laney made a free throw with less than a second remaining to give the Mules a 60-59 decision.

Erin Laney
Laney had three double-doubles and scored in double figures 14 times in the best season of her career.
After a pair of losses, Muhlenberg closed the regular season on a four-game winning streak, earning a home playoff game. But the Mules’ bid for a conference title stopped there, at the hands of Gettysburg.

Laney scored a game-high 16 points in the playoff loss, one of many strong performances in an all-conference season. The co-captain finished second on the team in scoring (9.5) and rebounding (6.0) en route to receiving All-CC honorable mention

Laney’s fellow captains also had plenty of success in their respective swan songs. Leeann Lanza was third on the team in scoring (6.3) and rebounding (5.9) and tied for sixth in the CC with 29 blocks. Lanza finished her career with 116 rejections, tied for second all-time at Muhlenberg.

Colleen Caldwell started all 26 games at point guard for the Mules. She led the offense effectively, dishing out 81 assists (fourth in the CC) and compiling a 1.37 assist-to-turnover ratio to go along with 41 steals (tied for eighth in the CC). Katy Mitton (2.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg), meanwhile, made seven starts in her final season at Muhlenberg, and had eight points and a career-high 10 boards in the win over Gettysburg.

Caldwell’s starting backcourt mate, junior Abby Stenger, was one of the CC’s top shooters, tying for third in the league with 41 three-pointers made. Classmate Nicole Pepe was the team’s other long-range bomber, knocking down 31 triples and scoring in double figures five times. Both Stenger and Pepe are already inside the top 20 in Muhlenberg history in career three-pointers.

Junior Hannah Rush gave the Mules a potent one-two punch at the point guard position. After missing the first 10 games of the season with an injury, Rush came back stronger than ever, handing out 54 assists to just 25 turnovers in 16 appearances. That gave her 200 career assists, placing her inside the top 15 in program history.

Juniors Janelle Fleet (40 assists, 26 steals) and Laura Gregory (3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg) gave the Mules valuable minutes off the bench, and classmate Emily Lesher matched her career high with 12 points against DeSales.

Sophomore Christina Santone was a defensive force off the bench, collecting 29 blocked shots and an average of 1.26 rejections per game despite playing less than 10 minutes a contest.