Women's Basketball Sinks Shorewomen

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Men’s basketball

Taking a cue from the wind chill outside, which hovered in the low 40s for most of the day, the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team was chilly from the free throw line for most of its game against Washington.

Kate Clawson
Junior Kate Clawson blocked a would-be layup with 3:25 to play and made two free throws with 22 seconds left to finish with seven points off the bench.
But when the game got close down the stretch, it was Chili who helped the Mules heat up at the line. Muhlenberg hit nine of 10 free throws in the final 4:26, including four from senior Alexandra Chili, to beat the Shorewomen, 71-63.

“Our games have been a little comfortable so far, so facing some adversity should be good for us,” said sophomore Colleen Caldwell, who finished with nine points, the second-best total of her career. “We made the plays and shots when we needed to, so now we know that we can win tight games if we have to.”

With the offense struggling early, Muhlenberg’s defense held Washington to just two points in the first five minutes. Junior Kate Clawson finally knocked down a jumper to put the Mules (6-0, 3-0) on the board at the 15:32 mark, sparking a 9-0 run.

Muhlenberg shot 48 percent for the rest of the half and got five points in the final three minutes from senior Kathleen Naddaff to take a 32-27 lead into the locker room.

Alexandra Chili
Chili finished a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line and dished out a team-high four assists.
Looking to create some separation, the Mules stormed out of the locker room and used a 17-7 run, capped by a 3-pointer from junior Julie Kelly, to open up its biggest lead of the game, 15 points, just past the 15-minute mark.

The Shorewomen (2-3, 1-3) battled back, using 10 second-chance points and steady free throw shooting to close the gap to five with 5:40 to play.

That’s when the Mules took advantage of the charity stripe and got a pair of big baskets from sophomore Alita Zabrecky, who led the way with 18 points and three steals, to keep Washington winless all-time at Memorial Hall.

“We knew they weren’t going to back down,” Caldwell said. “They’re a good team, so even when we got that big lead, I knew they could come back. They played hard, but in the end, we made the plays when we needed to.”

Naddaff finished with a career-high 14 points, while Chili added 13. They tied for the team lead with six rebounds apiece.

The Mules committed a season-low nine turnovers to beat the Shorewomen for the 29th time in the last 30 meetings. And while Caldwell said the game was a little too close for comfort, it could end up helping in the long run.

“It was good that we were able to battle to get a win, and it opened our eyes a little bit,” Caldwell said. “We know we need to play much better and work much harder if we want to achieve our goals. So hopefully this will make us a better team.”
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