Women's Basketball Edges Swarthmore in Overtime Thriller

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

That was the winning mantra for Leeann Lanza and the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team in its thrilling Centennial Conference-opening win against Swarthmore.

Janelle Fleet
Junior Janelle Fleet played a fantastic game, flirting with a triple-double. She finished with eight assists (and no turnovers), seven points and seven rebounds.
Lanza had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation when she took a baseline jumper with four seconds left. But she left it short, and the game went into overtime.

With the Mules trailing by one point and 22 seconds left in the extra period, Lanza took an almost identical shot. This time she swished it to put Muhlenberg ahead, 75-74.

“If anything, it was not going to be short,” said Lanza of her second try. “I was so mad at myself for missing the first one because if I had made it, it would have been all over.”

Even after the senior came through in overtime, it wasn’t quite over. Swarthmore took two shots in the last 14 seconds and missed both, but got the offensive rebound both times. The Garnet had their last shot at winning when they inbounded the ball under the basket with three seconds left. Muhlenberg stepped up its defense, first forcing a timeout and then a pass to the corner. Swarthmore could not get a final shot off, and the Mules walked away with the win against a team they lost to three times last year, once on a banked-in three at the buzzer and once in the CC semifinals.

Erin Laney
Senior Erin Laney contributed eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
“It felt so good to beat them,” said Lanza, who recorded her fourth career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. “Looking at our schedule, we knew the beginning of our season was going to be tough. We knew we had to be prepared right from the get-go.”

Both teams came ready to play and run the floor in an entertaining, back-and-forth game. Muhlenberg led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Swarthmore came back to draw even (33-33) at the break. The second half was equally tight until Muhlenberg started to pull away, opening up a 12-point lead at 65-53 on a three-pointer by junior Nicole Pepe with just under five minutes to play.

The Mules would not score again in regulation, however, as the Garnet slowed them down with a zone and ended the period on a 12-0 run.

“They wanted to push it too, but because they didn’t have as many people to put in, at some point they got tired,” said Lanza. “But then at the end, we wanted to use the clock, and it wasn’t working for us to slow the ball down and hold it.”

Muhlenberg took a 73-69 lead with 1:12 left in overtime when junior Leanna Tallamy, who notched her third straight double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, made one of two free throws. But back came the Garnet again, scoring five straight points to take its last lead on a pair of free throws with 40 ticks left.

That set the stage for Lanza’s heroics, and just like last year, when Swarthmore’s early win against Muhlenberg set the stage for a run to the conference championship, the Mules hope this win will serve as the keynote for their season.

“I’m very excited for the season,” said Lanza. “Everyone has shown that they can contribute, and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”
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