Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, March 3, 2006
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WOMEN’S HOOPS ADVANCES WITH WIN

Sometimes to go forward, you have to go back.

Kristen Piscadlo
Piscadlo's seven assists gave her 163 for the season, just three short of the Centennial Conference record.
The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team, facing an end to its dream season, turned to pressure defense and mass substitutions – two of the hallmarks of the Grinnell style it played two years ago – to come from behind for a 57-50 win against Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

In their fifth straight heart-stopping win, the Mules closed the game on an 18-4 run to advance to the regional final agame against host Mary Washington on Saturday at 8:00.

Except for two early ties, the Mules (26-2) trailed the entire game and faced their biggest deficit, at 44-36 with 6:56 remaining, before beginning their comeback.

A three-pointer by senior Kristen Piscadlo was answered by a layup by Wesleyan, giving the Cardinals a 46-39 lead with 5:19 left. Wesleyan (18-8) made only one field goal the rest of the game.

Just eight seconds after the Cardinal bucket, freshman Lauren Boyle beat the defense down the court for a layup to make the score 46-41. Wesleyan missed a quick jumper, and junior Meghan Courtney snagged
Lacie Smith
Smith finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
the rebound and dished off to Piscadlo, who threw a long downcourt pass to senior Lacie Smith. She made the layup to pull the Mules to within three.

“We knew that if we kept working hard and pushing the ball, we would get them tired,” said Piscadlo. “So we just kept trying to fast break.”

Muhlenberg got key minutes from its entire 11-player rotation and used its fullcourt pressure to wear down the Cardinals, who used only seven players in the second half.

After a Wesleyan turnover, Piscadlo drove the lane and tried a scoop shot. She missed, but rebounded the ball under the basket and kicked it to Courtney, whose jumper from the lane cut the gap to one.

With 3:09 left, after a missed Cardinal free throw, Boyle drove the baseline for a layup that gave the Mules their first lead, 47-46. Piscadlo then stole the ball near midcourt and drove in for a layup and a three-point lead. Two Courtney free throws completed the 12-0 run that put Muhlenberg up 51-46 with 2:30 to play.

A three-pointer drew Wesleyan to within 53-50, but senior Stephanie Coluccini and Piscadlo each made a pair of free throws in the final 45 seconds to account for the final margin.

The Mules’ last five wins have come by a total of 18 points, and all were decided in the last five minutes.

“We never lost our confidence,” said Piscadlo. “Every moment that I had a chance to talk to the team I said, we’re not leaving here
Muhlenberg fans
without a victory. The faith we have in each other really got us through.”

Boyle led all scorers with 18 points, shooting 7-of-11 from the field. She has been Muhlenberg’s top scorer in all three of its postseason games, hitting the go-ahead basket in two of them.

Piscadlo finished with 12 points and seven assists. Courtney made up for a poor shooting night by pulling down 10 rebounds, helping the Mules to a 43-31 advantage on the boards.

Muhlenberg will take its second 11-game winning streak of the season into the regional final.

Click here for box score.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated March 3, 2006