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Muhlenberg College

Monday, January 25, 2010

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Men’s basketball

Spicy win for women’s basketball

Chili Named Player of the Week

Alexandra Chili

Sophomore Alexandra Chili was named player of the week by the Centennial Conference.

Chili averaged 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists to lead the Mules to a pair of wins and sole possession of first place in the CC. She assisted on the two go-ahead baskets and hit the game-clinching three-pointer in a come-from-behind 74-68 win against DeSales. In Muhlenberg's 71-47 victory over Ursinus, Chili recorded her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.

Entering the Swarthmore game, Chili led the 12th-ranked Mules (12-2) in scoring at 17.7 points per game. She led the team with 40 three-pointers and ranked second in both assists (48) and steals (19). In the CC, Chili was tied for first in three-pointers per game and third in scoring.

At the train station just outside of Swarthmore, a sign advertised an upcoming Chili Cook-Off – a good omen not lost on a team that features a Chili and a Cook.

And while sophomore Alexandra Chili and junior Sheila Cook did, appropriately, lead the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team in scoring, the Mules put together an all-around blue-ribbon performance that would have impressed any panel of judges (like the one that moved the Mules up to No. 11 in the new D3hoops.com poll).

Though there were no actual prizes awarded at the game, Muhlenberg left Swarthmore with a 69-54 victory.

The win came against a team that, while just 4-8 in the Centennial Conference, entered the game playing its best basketball of the season. The Garnet beat fourth-place Dickinson by two on the road, lost to
Alexis Bates
Senior Alexis Bates goes up for two of her four points.
Ursinus on a pair of late free throws and took second-place Gettysburg to overtime on Saturday.

“We knew they were going to give us a good game,” said senior Maiza Mock. “We just wanted to go in trying to play our best and hope we come out on top.”

The Mules (13-2, 10-1) were able to do that in part thanks to a brief breather. After playing five games in nine days to make up for missed time over break, Muhlenberg had four days between tonight’s contest and Wednesday’s win over Ursinus.

“It was amazing to have that time off,” said Mock. “It’s not even about the physical factor, but the mental factor.”

The mental factor came in to play late in the first half. The Mules led by four and were in danger of a violation when junior Kelly McKeon saw the shot clock winding down and swished a crucial three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Swarthmore (7-10) scored five quick points to bring the deficit down to two, but McKeon hit two free throws and then, after a Garnet miss, Chili drove and found freshman Alita Zabrecky for a layup and a foul with 21 seconds left. Zabrecky completed the three-point play to put the Mules back up seven.

Muhlenberg then took over at the start of the second half, going on a 15-4 run, capped by a Chili triple, in the first 4:16 of the period to suddenly go from leading by six to up 17.

They then clamped down on defense, allowing just 19 points for most of the half before Swarthmore hit a jumper and a three in the final minute. For the game Muhlenberg had 10 steals – including two each by Cook, McKeon and senior Kaitlyn O’Malley – and five blocks.

About the only thing that went wrong for the Mules was that freshman Kate Clawson finally missed a free throw. Clawson hit the first 17 attempts of her career before her first try of the game rattled out.

“I was shocked. As soon as she missed, it was like, there goes that,” laughed Mock.

Chili finished with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Cook had 15 points and eight rebounds, and McKeon posted 14 points, eight boards and five assists.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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