Thursday, February 22, 2007
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Wrestling Team Ranked
WOMENS BASKETBALL TO REPEAT
The only real difference between finishing second and third in the Centennial Conference regular season is the color of the uniform worn in the first playoff game.
But that does make a difference for the Muhlenberg womens basketball team, which is the third seed for the CC playoffs and will don its red uniforms to face second-seeded Dickinson on Saturday. Host McDaniel plays Ursinus in the other semifinal.
The Mules have five players who wear different numbers home and away, including scoring and rebounding leader Meghan Courtney, the CC co-player of the year. She still wears 35, the number she sported for her first three years, in the away reds, but switched to 14 when
As a freshman 35 was the only number left, but in my head I had 14 on my back the whole time, explained Courtney. Its been good luck since I could start counting that high, probably when I was five. It's just a comfort wearing the number Ive had all my life.
For the record, Courtney is averaging 16.8 points per game as No. 35, compared to 14.4 as No. 14. But comfort is not a word that comes to mind when describing the Mules (19-6, 12-6) offensively against Dickinson: They totaled 79 points in dropping their first two meetings with the Red Devils (21-4, 15-3), who are fourth in Division III in scoring defense, allowing only 48.0 points per game.
They have incredible defense, and they really come prepared to play our team, said Courtney. We are definitely up to the challenge, and the championship is completely within our grasp. We are ready to come out and play for a win.
Muhlenberg showed it also can play tough defense in the two games against Dickinson, allowing 49 and 50 points. The Mules gave up an average of 52.1 points in their last eight CC games, but only went 4-4.
Leading the defensive effort inside is the strong rebounding and shot-blocking of Courtney and fellow center Erin McSherry. Courtney is tied for the CC lead in blocked shots (49) and is third in rebounding (9.5 per game). McSherry is averaging 10.0 rebounds in the last six games, with a career high of 13 in each of the last two, and is fifth in the CC with 43 blocked shots, including five in the regular-season finale at Ursinus.
Muhlenberg has set a school record with 115 blocked shots this season and ranks 34th in Division III with 4.6 swats per game. The Mules also are 28th in defensive field-goal percentage, allowing opponents to make 33.8 percent of their tries.
While the defense has been solid, the offense has struggled of late. Muhlenberg topped the 70-point mark eight times in winning its first 11 games, but has made it to 70 just three times since, going 8-6. The Mules shot less than 29 percent in their last three games, all losses to playoff teams.
I know that we have such energy and enthusiasm, but sometimes we have a hard time putting the ball in the basket, Courtney said. Weve been practicing finishing all week in practice and I dont think were going to have a problem because its now or never.
Despite the recent struggles, Muhlenberg is still second in the CC in scoring offense (65.5 ppg) and leads the league in three-point shooting percentage (.341). The Mules have two of the top five scorers in Courtney (third at 15.5 ppg) and sophomore Lauren Boyle (fifth at 14.5 ppg). Senior Emily Wright leads the CC and ranks 19th in Division III in three-point accuracy (.407), and junior Abra Like led the CC in assists before missing the last two games with an injury.
Muhlenberg also is the defending champion and is trying to repeat for the second time in team history.
It can go any way, considering the quality of players and the teams involved, said Courtney. I think its going to come down to whoever gets their offense going and wants it more, whos getting the rebounds and whos really gunning down the stretch in the last two or three minutes.
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Last updated February 22, 2007