Women's Basketball Beats McDaniel on Senior Day

Saturday, February 11, 2012 - page 2

During the Senior Day ceremonies before the Muhlenberg women’s basketball game against McDaniel, senior Kathleen Naddaff said she had trouble catching her breath because she was so emotional.

Luckily for the Mules, they had no such trouble of their own as they used a strong first-half run to open up enough breathing room that they were able to weather a return run by the Green Terror for a 66-54 win that clinched a spot in the Centennial Conference playoffs.

Katy Rossino
Rossino dished out two assists and grabbed a steal, which she turned into this fastbreak layup.

It’s the seventh straight playoff trip for the Mules (18-5, 13-5), who moved into sole possession of third place in the CC thanks to Ursinus’ loss at first-place Johns Hopkins. They are still one game back of second-place Franklin & Marshall.

“I can’t believe this is our last game here,” said Naddaff, who was honored with classmates Alexandra Chili, Katy Rossino and Kimberly Mui. “I’m so emotional right now; this is so sad. It felt really great to go out with a win, but I’m definitely going to miss playing here.”

The Mules could potentially still host one more game if they enter the conference tournament as the fourth seed, but Naddaff said they have their heights set higher.

Muhlenberg jumped out early behind a pair of threes from Chili, but McDaniel came back and grabbed its only lead of the game on a trey midway through the first half.

Kathleen Naddaff
Naddaff pulled down four rebounds and blocked a shot. She ranks seventh in school history with 64 career blocks, one away from sixth.

That shot woke up the Mule offense, but more importantly the defense, as they proceeded to go on a 22-0 run, holding McDaniel scoreless for 7:23, to jump ahead by 19 with 2:51 to play in the half.

Muhlenberg hit five straight threes during that stretch, one each from freshmen Abby Stenger and Hannah Rush, juniors Kate Clawson and Alita Zabrecky and Chili.

“We knew they were going to be coming in with a lot of confidence because they just beat Johns Hopkins,” said Clawson. “So we wanted to take control early and try to get them off their game. When we went on that run in the first half, I think it helped us grab the momentum, and that carried us to the win.”

But McDaniel responded with a 10-2 run of its own to make it a 36-25 game at the break, and continued its surge out of the locker room to pull within five with 14:00 to play.

Zabrecky stopped the Green Terror momentum with a three from the left wing, and Rush drained a pair of foul shots to get the lead back to double digits, where it stayed for good. Muhlenberg hit nine of its final 10 free throw attempts to seal the game.

Chili finished with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the fourth double-double of her career (the third in points and rebounds). She hit three 3-pointers to move into sole possession of 11th place on the Division III women's career list with 317.

Zabrecky was one rebound shy of joining Chili with 14 points and nine boards, while Clawson poured in 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

The Class of 2012 moved into sole possession of third place in school history with its 88th win, but the seniors plan on adding a few more before their careers are done.

“As a class, they bring so much to the table,” Clawson said. “Kathleen is such a strong leader; Chili will get you a shot when you need it; Kim will do whatever she needs to do to help the team win; and KRo is always looking to dish out a big assist.

“But they’ve meant even more off the court. I’m going to miss their senses of humor and how they’re always there when you need help. They’ve meant so much to this team and all of us as players. You couldn’t ask for a better senior class; we’re definitely going to miss them. But hopefully we still have a lot more basketball to play together.”
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