Athletics: Women's Basketball
The Muhlenberg College women's basketball program has established a strong foundation of athletic and academic success.
The Mules have won just under 75 percent of their games since the 2001-02 season, winning the Centennial Conference championship and/or finishing first in their division eight times in those 12 years. They also have landed on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Honor Roll four times in the last 10 years; in 2009, they were one of only four Division III schools to reach the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament and place in the top 16 on the WBCA academic list.
On the court, Muhlenberg has made an impact on the national Division III scene several times over the past decade. The Mules have earned national and/or regional rankings in 12 of the last 15 seasons.
In 2008-09, the Mules reached the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, handing previous national finalist Bowdoin its first postseason loss ever on its home court. Muhlenberg was a perfect 18-0 in the Centennial Conference regular season – the first women's team to do so – and went on to win the CC championship, finishing the year ranked in the top 15 in Division III.
Muhlenberg returned to the "Sweet 16" in 2010-11 with two dramatic NCAA Tournament wins — one against 2010 "Final Four" team Rochester on its home court — before falling to eventual national champion Amherst. The Mules won their record sixth CC title and were ranked 15th in the final Division III poll.
During the 2007-08 season, the Mules captured their second CC championship in three years. With a 21-7 record, the team also accepted its second NCAA Tournament bid over that same period and hosted first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games at Memorial Hall. The Mules finished among the national leaders in several NCAA statistical categories.
In 2005-06, Muhlenberg also won the Centennial Conference championship, reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, finished the season ranked 20th in the national poll and set the program record for wins with a 26-3 season. The Mules ranked in the top 25 in Division III in both scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense.
The defensive rankings were in stark contrast to 2004, when Muhlenberg led all of women's basketball in scoring and three-pointers while becoming the fifth Division III team to average 90 points per game. The Mules set school records in almost every category and broke five NCAA and many CC marks.
The team exploded onto the national scene during the 2001-02 season, winning a then-school-record 21 games and earning a ranking as high as No. 8 in Division III. Muhlenberg defeated two teams that went on to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament.
The program began its current string of excellence in the mid-1990s. Muhlenberg captured seven Centennial Conference East Division titles between 1996 and 2002 and won the conference in 1997 and 1998. The 1997 team won the first conference championship in school history and earned a right to appear in the NCAA Tournament. In 1998, the Mules became the first Centennial Conference team — men's or women's — to repeat as conference champs and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs.
The Muhlenberg women's basketball team has also played outside of the United States. Every three years the team travels abroad to experience other cultures, see the sights and compete against international teams. Recent trips have included Italy in August 2010, Germany and Austria in August 2007, Italy in the summer of 2004, and France in 2001.