Women's Basketball Scoops Up Win, Earns Berth in Semis

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - page 2

As its bus pulled onto Haverford’s campus, the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team was given some added motivation for its upcoming game.

On top of the potential playoff implications, Coach Ron Rohn stood up and promised the team it would go for ice cream if it won. Three hours later, the Mules were screaming for ice cream after claiming a hard-fought 60-52 win against Haverford in a game that had the feel of a playoff contest.

Leeann Lanza
Lanza hit five of her seven shots to finish with 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

The win was made even sweeter when Ursinus lost at Washington, clinching the Mules (19-5, 14-5) a bye into the Centennial Conference semifinals. They are currently tied with Franklin & Marshall for second place and will face the Diplomats next Friday night at Johns Hopkins.

“These last two games are very important for us,” said sophomore Erin Laney. “We also knew it was a big game for them and that they’d be fired up. So we wanted to come out and match their intensity and get some revenge.”

Much like the first time the two teams met (a 58-55 Haverford win), the game was close throughout. Muhlenberg led from the start but could not create much separation. Almost every time the Mules went on a run, the Fords (16-8, 11-8) responded with one of their own, and Muhlenberg went into the locker room with a 28-25 lead.

Erin Laney
Laney tied for the team high with eight rebounds and added nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.

The Mules scored 10 of the first 15 points of the second half to push their lead to eight at the 14:20 mark. But Haverford responded with five straight points and eventually tied the score at 42 with 9:41 to play.

Senior Kathleen Naddaff hit a baseline jumper on Muhlenberg’s next possession, and after a missed Haverford three, senior Alexandra Chili knocked down one of her four threes in the game, extending the lead to five.

The Fords got as close as two on a free throw with 1:29 to play, but the Mules closed it out by scoring the game’s final six points.

Laney hit a baseline jumper with the shot clock running low to make it 56-52 at the 1:04 mark, and sophomore Leeann Lanza blocked a shot on the Fords’ next possession. Chili knocked down four straight free throws to seal the win.

Muhlenberg shot 40.7 percent from the field to become just the sixth team this season to shoot at least 40 percent and reach the 60-point mark against Haverford. The Fords entered the game 15th in the country in scoring defense (49.6 ppg) and 42nd in field-goal percentage defense (.332).

Chili finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists, giving her 1,908 points in her career. She is just the sixth player, male or female, in CC history to reach the 1,900-point plateau. Junior Alita Zabrecky added 11 points, eight boards and five helpers.

The Mules showed they could play a little defense of their own, holding the Fords to just 30.4-percent shooting from the field, 17.5 percent lower than the first meeting. Muhlenberg also held a 43-32 lead on the glass after being outrebounded by seven in the first matchup.

And while they may have chosen a cool treat to celebrate their semifinal berth, Laney said she feels like the Mules are heating up at just the right time.

“We have had high expectations all season, so being in the semifinals is right where we want to be,” she said. “Now we’ve got to win our last game so we can go into the playoffs with a lot of momentum.”
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