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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

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Men’s basketball

women’s basketball emerges from dark
to beat Swarthmore

Sheila Cook
Of Cook's team-high 8 rebounds, 6 were on the offensive end.
It’s not unusual for a team to win despite getting off to a slow start, but it’s much harder when it gets off to two slow starts. In the first half.

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team had finally taken its first lead of the game on a layup by Alita Zabrecky when the lights at Swarthmore’s Tarble Pavilion suddenly went out with 13:23 left in the first half. A tree falling onto a power line was the culprit, and the teams waited nearly 90 minutes before power was restored.

After the two teams warmed up again and resumed play, Swarthmore went on a 21-8 run to open up an 11-point lead. But the Mules, who opened the game down 8-1, rallied to tie the score by halftime, then pulled away in the second half and won, 76-63.

The win moved Muhlenberg (14-5, 10-4) to within a game of Centennial Conference leader Johns Hopkins, which lost at home to Gettysburg in overtime.

“It was really scary because you couldn’t see anything,” said Zabrecky of the first few seconds before the emergency lights came on. “Then it was actually funny.”

To pass the time, the Mules danced and played a few games of knockout – except for freshman Ellen Rich, who took the opportunity to study for a big chemistry test.

Katy Rossino
Katy Rossino made back-to-back steals during the 15-0 run.

And just like the town of Swarthmore, the Mules took a little while to achieve full power. After falling behind 29-18, they scored seven straight points to close within four, then scored the final five points of the half, on a three-pointer and pull-up jumper by senior Kelly McKeon, to draw even.

Muhlenberg trailed 45-42 early in the second half before going on a 15-0 run to take command.

Erin Laney
Laney's layup with 3:52 left in the first half brought the Mules within three.

A three-pointer by Zabrecky tied the game, and two free throws by senior Alexandra Berlin after Zabrecky’s steal put Muhlenberg ahead to stay.

A putback by Zabrecky off another steal and two free throws by freshman Erin Laney - off yet another steal – extended the lead to six. Back-to-back baskets by senior Sheila Cook capped the run and gave the Mules a 57-45 lead at the 10:50 mark. The Garnet (12-8, 8-7) never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

During the decisive run, Muhlenberg turned Swarthmore over on five consecutive possessions. For the game, the Mules forced 28 turnovers and had 18 steals.

“We ran our plays a lot better and got much better looks in the second half,” said Zabrecky, who finished with 21 points, one short of her career high. “I felt good tonight, and my teammates threw me a lot of great fast-break passes.”

Cook scored a season-high 14 points, and McKeon and junior Alexandra Chili recorded 13 points and 5 assists apiece. Chili also had 5 steals.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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