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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, February 28, 2009

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Track and field Men’s basketball, baseball, women’s tennis

women’s basketball advances to title game

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team is hard enough to beat when it is playing good defense, when it is executing efficiently on offense, and when it is playing at home. But when a call that goes against the Mules winds up working in their favor, well, good luck to the opponent.

A bizarre series of events at the end of the first half was but one of the highlights as Muhlenberg advanced to the final of the Centennial Conference playoffs with a convincing 67-51 win against McDaniel. Winners of nine in a row, the Mules will play third-seeded Johns Hopkins, which was also impressive in its 75-58 win against Franklin & Marshall, on Sunday for the championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

After going through the CC regular season undefeated, Muhlenberg (23-3) dismissed any
Alexandra Chili
Chili is one of three active Mules to have recorded a double-figure assist game. She and McKeon are the first tandem of Mules to each dish out 100 assists in a season.
notion that it was primed for an upset by jumping out to a 16-2 lead. The Green Terror (15-12) scored the next seven points to cut the margin in half, but never seriously threatened. The bulge grew to as much as 26 late in the second half.

It was 32-20 with time winding down in the first half when the Mules held the ball for a final shot. Sophomore Kelly McKeon took a jumper just before the shot clock was to expire, and after McDaniel rebounded, the ball was knocked out of bounds with 0.5 seconds showing on the clock.

The referees, despite the protests of Muhlenberg, reset the clock to 3.1 seconds, explaining that the clock continued to run after the ball hit out of bounds. But before the Green Terror could get the ball in, it was called for pushing off, and now the Mules had the extra time to work with.

On second thought, they didn’t. An attempted pass was stolen by McDaniel, but the player was out of bounds, so Muhlenberg had another crack at it, this time with 0.5 seconds – again – on the clock.

This time McKeon found sophomore Sheila Cook under the basket, and her layup as the horn sounded sent the Mules in ahead by 14.

“When I made my first cut, I wasn’t open, but my girl slid by me and I screamed at Kelly to get me the ball,” said Cook.

Cook didn’t have to ask twice to get the ball from her teammates. She scored a career-high 26 points, tying a CC playoff record with 13 made field goals.

“The only other time I did that was sophomore year [of high school] in a JV game,” she said. “It was really nice.

“I could never do anything I do without my guards,” she added. “That’s something we’ve been working on, the guard-to-post entry, and it all came together tonight.”

All 13 of Cook’s baskets were assisted, six by freshman Alexandra Chili. Despite being held without a three-pointer for the first time in her career, Chili dished out a career-high 10 assists and blocked four shots. Muhlenberg set a school record with 10 blocks in the game, which was a big factor in holding the Green Terror to 26.2-percent shooting.

McKeon contributed 6 assists to go along with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

Johns Hopkins went on a 16-0 run early in the second half of the second semifinal game to set up the championship matchup against the Mules. This is the seventh time in the 16-year history of the CC that Hopkins and Muhlenberg are meeting in the title game.

The teams split the first six meetings, and one of them had some parallels to this year’s tilt. In 1997, the Blue Jays went through the CC regular season undefeated and entered the championship game with a record of 22-3 and ranked in the top 20 in Division III. Muhlenberg won that championship game in overtime for the first of its two back-to-back titles.

If the Mules win in 2009, the will become the first team to go back-to-back twice, the first to capture five titles and the first to go through the CC regular and postseasons without a loss.

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