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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 December 23  | January 2  3  4  5  6  7  8  10  11  12  13  14  15  17  18  19  20  21  22  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31 | February 1

Men’s basketball, wrestling

chili scores another winner at ursinus
as women’s basketball snaps skid

Just call her the “Bear Hunter.”

With the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team tied with Ursinus with less than 10 seconds to play, junior Alexandra Chili got the ball on the left wing with a defender in close pursuit.

She drove to the top of the arc where senior Sheila Cook was waiting with a screen that neutralized the defender.

Chili turned the corner
Alexandra Chili
With 1,275 career points, Chili is less than 20 away from the CC's all-time top 25.
around the screen and released a running, tear-drop shot from the middle of the lane. The ball bounced around the rim and when it finally settled through the bottom of the net with 1.3 seconds to play, the entire Muhlenberg bench erupted with cheers.

When the clock finally read 0.0, the Mules flooded the court to celebrate their 61-59 win in Collegeville.

“I was just thinking, ‘please go in; please go in,’” Chili said of her shot. “It was bouncing around the rim a lot so I was a little nervous, but luckily it finally fell and we got the win.”

Chili’s floater was a fitting end to a night in which she scored a game-high 26 points, including all four of the Mules’ 3-pointers. It was also her second dramatic game-winning shot in three trips to Helfferich Hall.

It was her 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to play that kept Muhlenberg’s perfect season alive in 2009. While that one felt great, she said, this one was even better because it came at a time when the Mules desperately needed a win.

Coming off back-to-back losses, Muhlenberg had to prove to itself it could win again, she said. And what put the Mules over the top at Ursinus, according to Chili, was a consistent and total team effort.

“We just played better
Katy Rossino
Junior Katy Rossino was a big contributor to the win, recording 3 assists in 12 turnover-free minutes.
as a team,” she said. “In the last couple games we kind of got stuck playing one-on-one, but today we ran our sets and ran our offense. I think we played really tough defense, were really aggressive and had high intensity the whole game.”

That intensity was most evident at the start of the second half. The two teams went into half tied, 29-29, but an Alexandra Berlin jumper gave the Mules the lead 15 seconds after the break.

Then as Ursinus (10-5, 7-4) took off on a fast break, Berlin alertly recovered and blocked a layup attempt. Fellow senior Kelly McKeon scooped up the rebound and took off down the court. She drove into the paint and dished to Chili for a 3-pointer from the wing to put the Mules up five.

Finally, Kathleen Naddaff capped Muhlenberg’s 7-0 run with a baseline jumper at the 17:30 mark to make it 36-29.

After draining five 3-pointers in the first half, Ursinus struggled to score after halftime. But when the Mules stretched their lead to eight with 11:25 to play, the Bear offense awoke from hibernation.

Ursinus took off on a 15-4 run and held the Mules (11-4, 7-3) scoreless for almost five minutes to lead by three with less than three minutes to play.

Berlin, who finished with 12 points, three assists and three steals, finally ended Muhlenberg’s slump when she took a pass from Chili on a backdoor cut and converted a layup with a foul with 2:39 remaining. She drained the free throw to retie the game, 54-54.

Less than a minute later Ursinus led by three when Chili pulled up from well beyond NBA range at the top of the arc. Her shot caught nothing but net and tied the game once again, 59-59.

Down the stretch Muhlenberg’s defense tightened. The Mules held Ursinus scoreless on its final three possessions to seal the win.

Naddaff pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, while freshman Leeann Lanza poured in 9 points and collected 5 boards.

The win, coupled with Franklin & Marshall’s loss at Dickinson, moves Muhlenberg into second place in the Centennial Conference. And more importantly, Chili said, it should serve as a huge confidence boost for a Mule team that had lost three of its previous four games, including two in overtime.

“We’ve been really frustrated the past couple of games because we’ve been so close,” Chili said. “We’ve had a really tough stretch with a lot of away games, but we were finally able to pull one out tonight. We’re looking forward to starting fresh and going another winning streak.”
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