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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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Track & field

Liddic, Chili named to LV team of the year

Alexandra Chili Every basketball coach spends hours on the road recruiting hoping to find that special player.

The kind of player with the unique combination of skill, court awareness, work ethic and leadership that can carry a program.

Add in excellence in the classroom and you've got the total package that most will never have the privilege of coaching.

In that case count the Muhlenberg basketball community spoiled. The Mules have not one, but two such players and they were both honored for their successes Tuesday afternoon.

Juniors Alexandra Chili and Spencer Liddic were named to the Lehigh Valley Small College Basketball Teams of the Year at the monthly media luncheon.

In less than three seasons Chili has already set the school record for career 3-pointers and is on pace to shatter the all-time scoring mark. With 236 career treys, she is also just six away from the Centennial Conference career record with more than an entire season remaining.

But her impact goes well beyond just scoring, according to Muhlenberg women’s basketball coach Ron Rohn.

He said while she may put up eye-popping point totals, Chili is anything but a ball hog. She will score when she knows she needs to score, but will just as quickly fire a pass to an open teammate for an easy layup.

“Earlier this season she carried our team by scoring 29, 30, 32 points a night. It was to the point where if she scored 17 it was an off night,” Rohn said. “But she is more than a scorer. She has the best ball skills, vision and feel for the game of any player I’ve ever coached.”

Aside from leading the Mules, and conference, in scoring at 19.8 points per game (19th in the country), Chili also ranks among the top four on the team in every major statistical category.

She leads the Mules with 63 threes (12th in the country) and is shooting a team-high 84.2 percent from the foul line. Her 53 assists are tied for second on the squad, and she ranks third in steals (40) and blocks (16), and fourth in rebounds (4.1).

Spencer Liddic

A member of the Capital One Academic All-District II College Division team, Chili has helped Muhlenberg to a 64-15 record during her career.

"As a coach if you get a chance to coach a player like Alex once in your career you consider yourself lucky,” Rohn said. “Some of the things she can do on the court are amazing; she is just a tremendous player. She is the pure definition of a great student athlete.”

For Liddic, it was the second time in as many seasons he was named to the team of the year.

The 6-foot-6 forward leads the conference in both scoring (20.3) and rebounding (10.6). He has amassed 13 double-doubles this season and is one of only six players in the country averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

And while second-year Muhlenberg men’s basketball coach Scott McClary did not actually recruit Liddic, he said he could not have asked for a better cornerstone with which to build the program around.

“Spencer is a coach’s dream,” McClary said. “I was extremely lucky to have inherited him when I got here two years ago. He is a great leader, and with us having such a young team this year he has done a tremendous job taking charge.”

With 474 points this season, Liddic is just 35 points shy of Muhlenberg’s single-season scoring mark. He also currently sits in 16th place on the school’s all-time list with 1,186 points.

Like Chili, Liddic was also named to the Capital One Academic All-District II College Division team and is also a candidate for the All-America team.

And with both coming back for their senior seasons next year, the Mule basketball programs could get used to the spoiled feeling.

“He does everything both on and off the court that you could ever ask of a player,” McClary said of Liddic. “I can’t imagine, and don’t want to imagine, where we would be without him this year. And luckily I don’t have to worry about that for another year.”

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