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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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While sitting on the bench with an injury for most of the last five Muhlenberg women’s basketball games, junior Sheila Cook had a lot of time to think. Apparently improving her shooting range was one of the things that ran through her mind.

Cook hit her first career three-pointer early and added another key long shot late as the Mules outlasted Haverford, 74-72 in overtime, in the next-to-last game of the regular season.

The victory leaves Muhlenberg (19-4, 16-3) a game behind Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference. A win at Ursinus on Saturday combined with a Bullet loss to McDaniel would give the Mules the top seed for the CC playoffs.

Alexandra Chili
Chili's 22 points put her over 400 for the second straight season. She is only the second player in team history to score at least 400 points her first two years.
Sophomore Alexandra Chili led Muhlenberg with 22 points, and Cook added 15. Junior Kelly McKeon had a monster game, with 17 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and six assists while playing all 45 minutes.

Men Fall Again, Tied for Third

The Muhlenberg men’s basketball team dropped its fourth straight, losing 64-50 at Haverford in its second-to-last regular-season game.

Washington clinched the fifth and final playoff spot by beating Ursinus, 85-84, and in so doing created a three-way tie for third place in the Centennial Conference. Muhlenberg (12-12), Ursinus and Washington are all now even at 10-7 with one game to play. The Mules will close the season at Ursinus, while Washington will travel to Johns Hopkins to face a team fresh off upsetting first-place Franklin & Marshall, 46-45. Even with a win, Muhlenberg will likely need a Washington loss to clinch a first-round bye due to tiebreakers.

Sophomore Spencer Liddic was the lone Mule to score in double figures with 16 points. He added eight boards to lead the team in rebounding for the 13th straight game.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

Muhlenberg has defeated Haverford 36 straight times, but it’s hard to imagine any of those wins coming harder than this one. The Fords (6-16, 4-14), who in their last game ended a 21-game losing streak to CC playoff qualifier Johns Hopkins, scored the last seven points of regulation to tie the game at 60.

“They’ve been playing really well,” said Cook. “This was the best thing for us going into the postseason. It’s good to have tough games that go down to the wire … and then some.”

Haverford drew first blood in the “and then some” part, but a pair of pullup jumpers by McKeon put Muhlenberg ahead for good, 64-62. On the Mules’ next possession, McKeon hustled in between two Fords to snag an offensive rebound, then kicked the ball out to the corner and Chili, who drilled the three-pointer to widen the lead to five.

A Muhlenberg free throw and a Ford three-pointer cut the margin to 68-65 with under a minute to play. With 36.9 seconds showing, Cook took a pass from Chili on the wing and calmly drained a 17-footer. Haverford never had another possession with the spread less than five, hitting a meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer for the final two-point margin.

“When I was out and I was slowly getting back into it, I was doing a lot of jump shooting because I didn’t want to go in the post and get banged around,” said Cook, the Mules’ 6-0 center. “So I have been working on stretching my range.”

Cook stretched her range to the ultimate midway through the first half, breaking an 18-all tie with a no-hesitation three-pointer from the wing, a shot that drew cheers and laughs from all the Mule players.

“I always said since I was in high school that the one thing I wanted to do before I graduated was to hit a three,” said a smiling Cook, who had never attempted a three-pointer in her Muhlenberg career. “I’d like to retire at 100 percent.”

Haverford recovered from the shock of Cook’s three-pointer by going on a 10-0 run to open up a seven-point lead, but the Mules rallied to draw even at 31 going into halftime. Muhlenberg led almost the entire second half.

Junior Alexandra Berlin scored nine points in her first start for Muhlenberg, and senior Maiza Mock played well off the bench, with six rebounds, three assists and two clutch free throws with 16.6 seconds left in overtime.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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