Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Thursday, February 2, 2006
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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HANGS ON
TO TOPPLE No. 19 MORAVIAN

In the morning, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his hole and predicted an extended winter, and in the evening the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team came out of Johnston Hall with a good chance of an extended season after a thrilling 66-59 win at Moravian.

The Mules (18-2) and Greyhounds (16-4) came in as two of only five teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region with three losses or fewer. Moravian, eight days removed from a win
Meghan Courtney
Great Scott! Courtney, here hitting the game-clinching basket, is averaging 21.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in her last three games.
against one of the others (Messiah), was ranked 19th in Division III by both the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com.

It was the first win for the Mules, themselves ranked 26th in the WBCA poll, against a nationally ranked team in 14 tries, since a 79-66 defeat of Scranton in 2002. That was also the last year they defeated their Lehigh Valley rivals.

Muhlenberg led from the opening tap – literally. Junior Meghan Courtney tapped the jump ball to senior Stephanie Coluccini, who drove in for a layup just three seconds into the contest. The Mules held the Greyhounds without a field goal for the first seven minutes, opening up a 14-4 lead. After Moravian finally made a shot, Muhlenberg answered with three buckets in a row to make the score 20-6.

The advantage was 17 at halftime after the Mules ended the first 20 minutes with a 9-0 run. A three-pointer by senior Lacie Smith gave Muhlenberg its biggest lead, 55-35, with 11 minutes to play in regulation, and that’s when things started to get a little hairy.

Using pressure defense to force Muhlenberg turnovers, the Greyhounds went on a 10-0 run to cut the gap to seven, at 59-52, with four minutes left. Smith’s kickout pass to
Lauren Boyle
Ouch! Boyle draws a charge after pressuring the ball on a defensive rebound.
Kristen Piscadlo resulted in a three-pointer to extend the lead back to 10, but Moravian scored the next seven points, closing to within 62-59 on a three-pointer with 43.3 ticks left.

On the ensuing possession, the Mules isolated Courtney on the left block, and she took Piscadlo’s lob pass and converted a layup with 20.6 seconds left, making the score 64-59. Courtney’s defense at the other end forced a traveling call, and Piscadlo made two free throws with 8.7 seconds left to ice the win.

“We would have liked to keep the big lead,” joked freshman Lauren Boyle. “But we usually hit a bump in the second half and this will give us more experience later in the season.”

Boyle was instrumental in helping Muhlenberg build that big lead with both her offense and her defense. She broke out of a shooting slump to score 15 points, eight of them on four straight Mule baskets late in the first half – one a pullup jumper from near the top of the key as the shot clock went off. She also drew three offensive fouls in the first five minutes of the second half, one of which also drew a technical foul on the Greyhound coach.

“Sometimes a defensive stop can be more important than an offensive play,” Boyle said. ”[Taking a charge] is definitely a confidence builder and gives everyone more energy.”

Courtney led all scorers with 24 points, including 18 in the first half. She also pulled down 11 rebounds for her third straight double-double. Smith just missed a double-double, with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Piscadlo had eight assists, tying the school record of 117 in a season she set two years ago, and added eight points, five rebounds and five steals. Senior Stephanie Coluccini contributed four points, seven rebounds and five assists. The seven rebounds made her only the fourth player in team history with 500 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals.

The victory gave Muhlenberg a 6-4 lead in the Matte Award standings for the 2005-06 year. The next scheduled Matte contest is a men’s tennis match on March 14.

Click here for box score.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated February 2, 2006