Saturday, February 21, 2009 - page 2  January 31 | February 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 | March 1

you do the math:

As president of the Math Club, Lauren Boyle began her Saturday at the 31st Annual High School Math Contest at Muhlenberg’s Trumbower Hall, reading word problems to the approximately 70 area high-school students in attendance. Problems like:

Jake drove the 30 miles from A to B at 15 mph and the 30 miles from B to C at 60 mph. What was his average speed for the entire trip?

Later that afternoon, at Ursinus’ Helfferich Hall, Boyle could have posed a different problem, one that someone who hasn’t taken a math class in years would have no trouble solving:

If a basketball team played 18 conference games and had a winning percentage of 1.000, how many games did it win?

Boyle and her Mule teammates completed the first 18-0 season in Centennial Conference women’s basketball history by defeating Ursinus, 68-65, on a three-pointer by freshman Alexandra Chili with 1.2 seconds left.

“It feels incredible to go undefeated,” said Boyle, whose jersey
 The Mules celebrate their dramatic win and their undefeated season.
number (24) is also the answer to the math problem. “It hasn’t really set in yet.”

Muhlenberg is the second women’s team to go through a CC season undefeated. Johns Hopkins finished 14-0 in 1997, when the league was divided into two divisions. The only men’s team to go 18-0 was Ursinus last year, which in a bit of symmetry completed its perfect season with a win at Muhlenberg, en route to the NCAA “Final Four.”

The Mules, ranked 15th in Division III by the WBCA, are 22-3 (the second-most wins in team history) and will host the CC semifinals and final next weekend, with times to be determined on Monday. They most likely will receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament even if they are upset in the conference tournament.

The perfect ending didn’t come easily against a Bear (6-19, 5-13) team that was at full strength after having several players miss large chunks of the season with injuries. Ursinus defeated Muhlenberg in the last game of the regular season each of the last two years, with last year’s loss costing the Mules a chance to host the CC playoffs.

It looked like Ursinus might play spoiler again when it made four straight three-pointers late in the first half to open up a 15-point lead. Boyle hit a buzzer-beater of her own, a three-pointer at the end of the first half, to send Muhlenberg into the locker room down 12.

Muhlenberg Teams
Perfect in the CC
Team Year W-L
Men’s Soccer 1995 9-0
Wrestling 2001 5-0
Women’s Soccer 2001 10-0
Men’s Soccer 2003 9-0
Women’s Tennis 2004 10-0
Football 2007 8-0
trailed by 10 (57-47) when Ursinus hit a jumper with 7:07 left. That would be the last field goal for the Bears.

Spearheading the comeback was sophomore Kelly McKeon, who finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists for only the second triple-double in program history. The first came in 1988.

A 10-2 run cut the gap to two at the three-minute mark, but Ursinus went 5-for-6 from the foul line to take a five-point lead into the final minute.

A three-pointer by Chili made the score 65-63 with 46 seconds left, and freshman Kimberly Mui stole the ensuing inbounds pass. Sophomore Sheila Cook scored under the basket with 34 seconds left, tying the game.

The Bears missed a three-pointer on their next possession, setting the stage for Chili’s straight-on three from behind the men’s line.

“I was like, please don’t airball it,” said Chili, who scored 13 points. “I felt like it was going in as soon as it left my hands.”

“I don’t want anyone else shooting [in that situation],” said Boyle. “We have confidence in her to make those shots.”

Cook finished with a game-high 18 points, and Boyle scored 14 as the Mules won their 13th consecutive CC road game. But that wasn’t the winning streak on everyone’s mind at the end of the game.

“We had a tough week in January after Christmas break, and after getting through that we thought, wow, we are really good and we can go undefeated,” said Boyle. “Everyone comes to play us, so we have to be ready every game.”