Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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The 2004-05 season did not have the fairytale ending the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team has been waiting for.

Once again employing a style predicated on pressure defense, fast-break offense and frequent substitutions that broke over 30 school records the previous year, the Mules went into winter break with
Stephanie Coluccini
Coluccini led Muhlenberg with four double-doubles last year and also had 40 assists, the most by a non-guard.
seven wins and a single loss. However, other teams did their homework and found ways to take Muhlenberg out of its game.

Upon return from recess, the team lost nine of its next 10 games. Quite unfamiliar with losing, the Mules had a difficult time turning back around and finished 11-14 overall, 7-11 in the Centennial Conference – missing the CC playoffs for the first time.

In 2005-06, Muhlenberg is more than determined to make it back to the CC tournament. Under the leadership of eight seniors, the Mules hope to use the experience of last season to come roaring back as one of the conference’s top teams.

The team opens the season with four straight home games, beginning Friday with the Scotty Wood Tournament.

“We learned how important it is to stay close with your teammates,” said Lacie Smith, one of the Mules’ three captains. “When we were winning, everyone was happy. Last year we had to rely on each other to pick each other up in practice every day. It made us closer and stronger.”

The run-and-gun offense of the past depended a great deal on the shooting of the guards. However this year, with increased height inside (11 of the 17 players are 5-10 or taller), the game plan is reversed.

Senior court general Kristen Piscadlo led the way for Muhlenberg last year, averaging 11.8 points a game. She earned All-CC honorable mention and also led the team in assists (107) and steals (56). Backup point guards Sam Tager (who averaged 4.1 points per game and had 26 assists) and Abra Like are likely to see plenty of minutes as well.

Senior Tiffany Kirk made 39 three-pointers last season and averaged 7.6 points. She will be expected to show leadership in the shooting guard position after the graduation of the program’s all-time three-point leader.

Stephanie Coluccini, another senior, will return to a more natural position at small forward after playing inside last year. Coluccini led the team in rebounding and averaged 8.2 points per game. Her height along with that of senior Valerie Robuck, who averaged 4.3 points and
CC preseason poll
school points
1. McDaniel (12) 189
2. Dickinson (5) 177
3. Johns Hopkins (5) 175
4. Gettysburg 127
5. Swarthmore 117
7. Franklin & Marshall 106
8. Ursinus 93
9. Washington 52
10. Haverford 46
11. Bryn Mawr 20
blocked 22 shots, should give the Mules an advantage at the wing position.

Junior Emily Wright and sophomore Michelle Feldman are versatile wing players who can get to the basket or shoot from the outside.

With three veterans and three rookies, the Muhlenberg frontcourt will be balanced with height and talent. Smith, coming off her most productive season (9.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game), heads the way for the Mules at the four spot.

At the center position, junior Meghan Courtney is poised to have a breakout year. She averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds last season, but has potential to greatly improve those figures this winter. Senior Michelle Hirst will also see a lot of time in the pivot.

Could this year be the year with the fairytale ending? The Centennial Conference coaches have a different story in mind, picking Muhlenberg to finish sixth.

“Going off the end of [last] season, I could see why people would think that,” commented Smith. “But we think we’re much better than a sixth-place team and we hope to prove that as the season goes along.”

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Last updated November 16, 2005