Women's Basketball Reclaims Scotty Wood Title

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - page 3

Just before re-entering the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team’s Scotty Wood Tournament championship game against Misericordia, junior Abby Stenger took a tumble on a patch of slippery court. Between the lines, the Mules had no such mishaps.

Seniors Laney, Mitton, Lanza and Colleen Caldwell with Dean of Students Karen Green and their new trophy.
Stenger recovered to knock down five three-pointers in a scintillating second-half run that propelled the Mules to a 77-54 victory over the Cougars, helping them reclaim the crown they narrowly missed out on a year ago. Junior Leanna Tallamy was a force inside for the second straight night, posting a career-high 23 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds and taking home Most Valuable Player honors as Muhlenberg won its season-opening event for the 11th time.

“You just have to get up and keep pushing,” Stenger said of her stumble. “Our whole team did that tonight. We had a few setbacks, but we kept coming at them and eventually wore them down.”

It took until a few minutes into the second half, but the Mules (2-0) eventually reeled off one of their patented spurts and left the Cougars in their wake. Leading by a slim 44-41 margin with 14:32 to play, Muhlenberg unsheathed a 26-6 burst over the next nine minutes to turn a tight game into a comfortable wait for the trophy presentation. Tallamy, who finished 10-of-14 from the field, started the initial 12-0 stretch with a layup and converted a three-point play after a basket by junior Janelle Fleet (6 points, 3 assists) to extend the lead to double digits at 51-41. That’s when Stenger announced her presence.

The sharpshooter, who hadn’t scored a single point, finally found her stroke. Stenger sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a jumper by Erin Laney (8 points, 6 rebounds) to help the Mules seize a 59-44 lead with just under nine minutes remaining. After a jumper by senior co-captain Leann Lanza, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds to earn all-tournament honors, Stenger went off.

Leanna Tallamy
Not even a little hair in her face could stop Tallamy, who started the season with two double-doubles after recording one all of last year.
The junior continued to pass her heat checks, torching the Cougars for a trio of three-pointers in a four-possession stretch, the last giving Muhlenberg a 70-47 lead with 5:46 to play.

“Coach always tells me to keep shooting when I’m open and have that shooter’s mentality,” said Stenger, who made five of her seven attempts from distance. “I just kept shooting when I was open, and my teammates had my back.”

Working hard in the post, Tallamy kept defenders at her back all night. The junior forward was unstoppable down low, sealing off whoever Misericordia attempted to guard her with and continually finishing picture-perfect entry passes from the Mules’ perimeter players. It all added up to another career performance for Tallamy, who matched her previous career mark of 18 points and added a career-best 14 rebounds in Friday’s 92-72 victory over Rowan.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect it,” Tallamy said of her hot start to the season. “My teammates deserve a lot of credit for feeding me the ball and finding me open.

“It feels great (to be named MVP). I’m pretty excited about it, but lots of credit goes to my teammates. They played so great tonight.”

Senior co-captain Katy Mitton snagged eight rebounds for the Mules, who outrebounded the Cougars by a 67-41 margin. For the tournament, the Mules averaged 25.5 more boards than their opponents, using their size and superior depth to make game-breaking runs in consecutive nights.

“Everyone worked so hard in the preseason,” Stenger said. “The whole team really contributed. Leanna had an awesome game and really stepped up. It was a total team effort.”

The result was another addition to the Mules’ trophy case, and a most satisfying one at that. After dropping a nail-biter to King’s in last year’s final, reclaiming their tournament crown was even more meaningful.

“It means so much to us,” Tallamy said. “We really wanted to bring the trophy back to Muhlenberg.”
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