womens basketball earns ncaa bid
For the first time in school history, the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team received an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Mules (21-5), who lost in the Centennial
Conference championship game to McDaniel yesterday, will travel to Union, N.J., to take on Tufts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 6:00.
Second-ranked Kean, the host school for the four-team pod, will take on Penn State Berks at 8:00 in the other first-round matchup. The winners meet on Saturday at 6:00.
Muhlenberg is in the NCAAs for the third straight year and the sixth time overall. The Mules are 3-3 in their last six NCAA games, including a pair of wins last season that put them in the “Sweet 16” for the first time in program history.
Tufts (20-5) also earned an at-large bid after falling to Bowdoin in the quarterfinals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Jumbos, coached by former University of Connecticut standout Carla Berube, were ranked as high as 10th in Division III before dropping three of their last four games.
In the D3hoops.com poll released last week, Muhlenberg was ranked 22nd and Tufts 25th.
Tufts is making just its third NCAA Tournament appearance, all in the last three years. In 2008, the Jumbos reached the quarterfinals, and last year they defeated Moravian in the first round before losing by two points to eventual national semifinalist New Jersey.
Muhlenberg has never played Tufts in women’s basketball, but this will be third time the Mules square up against a team from the NESCAC in the NCAAs. They defeated Wesleyan in the first round in 2006 and knocked off Bowdoin in the second round last year.
Both teams feature outstanding junior point guards. Colleen Hart of Tufts was a preseason All-American, and Muhlenberg’s
Kelly McKeon was the Centennial Conference player of the year.
Muhlenberg was one of three CC teams to make the NCAA field. McDaniel will travel to Christopher Newport to take on Roanoke, and Gettysburg, after falling in the
CC semis on Saturday, returns to the Lehigh Valley to face Farmingdale State at Moravian.
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