Threes, Defense Lead to Women's Basketball Win

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Senior Kate Clawson of the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team is making a long-distance trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. And she’ll be able to drive the nine hours coming off a win thanks to some long-distance shooting by her teammates.

On a night when they struggled mightily from two-point range, the Mules made nine three-pointers en route to defeating Gettysburg, 61-46, in their Centennial Conference opener.

Julie Kelly
Through three games, Kelly has eight three-pointers - one fewer than she had in 24 games last year.
Five different players combined for the nine threes, most notably senior Julie Kelly, who was 4-for-8 from behind the arc and finished with 14 points. Classmate Alita Zabrecky made a pair of threes as part of an outstanding 13-point, 14-rebound, 6-assist effort.

Muhlenberg trailed only once (2-0) but had trouble finding its mark offensively early on. The Mules committed nine turnovers and shot only 27.6 percent in the first half. Still, they had a seven-point lead at the break thanks to a stifling defense that held the Bullets to 17 points.

Cold-Shooting Men Drop CC Opener

Gettysburg pulled away down the stretch to hand the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team a 66-52 loss in the second game of the doubleheader.

The Mules (1-2, 0-1) came back from an early 14-2 deficit to take a lead late in the first half and trailed by two at the break. It was 45-45 with just under 10 minutes left before the Bullets went on a 13-2 run, holding Muhlenberg to one field goal in a span of more than seven minutes.

Sophomore AJ Dean led the Mules, who shot less than 31 percent from the field, with 12 points, and freshman Alec Stavetski added 10.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

“We were our own worst enemy,” said Clawson on the low halftime score. “It wasn’t the other team, it was us. We were just rushing and throwing away passes. At halftime, Coach just told us to make the easy pass.”

The advice worked, as Muhlenberg opened the second half on a 9-0 run to extend its lead to 16. Kelly had five points and a blocked shot in the run.

Gettysburg never got closer than eight points, and when it did threaten, the Mules had the answer.

The Bullets trailed 41-31 with about seven minutes left and had a fast break going, but Zabrecky did an excellent job defending a layup without fouling. She grabbed the rebound and dribbled the length of the court before kicking it out to Kelly on the wing for a three-pointer.

Zabrecky rebounded another missed shot on the next possession and again led the break, this time passing to junior Erin Laney for a baseline jumper, giving Muhlenberg a 15-point lead and forcing Gettysburg to call timeout.

Kelly later hit another three when the Bullets closed to within nine, and the Mules went 10-for-12 from the line over the final 1:31 to ice the win.

Muhlenberg continued to play tough defense in the second half, holding Gettysburg to 28.1 percent from the field. The Mules also rebounded well, finishing with a 54-38 advantage on the boards.

“I think that in the second half we just had better position and were calmer on offense,” said Clawson, who finished with seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. “We know that we have size on a lot of teams and we need to utilize it, so that was what we did.”

Muhlenberg also utilized its secret weapon in Kelly, who spent most of the last three years behind other players. Finally getting her chance to shine, she is making the most of it, averaging 9.3 points (second on the team) over the first three games of the season.

“It’s awesome,” said Clawson. “She’s my best friend at school, and to see her excel and step up as a senior is just phenomenal.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.