Women's Basketball Finds Mark, Clinches Playoff Berth

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - page 2

Hannah Rush
Rush became the 11th different Mule to score in double figures in a game this season.
“Historic” Winter Storm Nemo may not have reached its expected mark for snow accumulation on the Muhlenberg campus, but the women’s basketball team certainly hit the mark with its three-point shooting in a 67-47 victory over McDaniel.

Muhlenberg made eight of its 17 three-point attempts (47.1 percent) in the first half and finished the game 11-for-25 from behind the arc. Thanks to their hot shooting, the Mules clinched a berth for the Centennial Conference playoffs with just two regular-season games remaining.

“It’s always nice to know that we have the spot just in case something happens,” said sophomore Hannah Rush. “We’re still going to play just as hard though because we want to win out.”

The third-place Mules (15-8, 12-6) remain a game ahead of Johns Hopkins and Haverford and can clinch a first-round bye by winning their last two games. McDaniel (11-13, 8-11) was coming off back-to-back road wins against playoff teams Swarthmore and Johns Hopkins.

Rush had a season-high 11 points, including back-to-back three-pointers followed by a steal and an assist on a three by senior Kate Clawson, to help the Mules grab a nine-point lead in about two and a half minutes midway through the first half.

Kate Clawson
Clawson increased her season scoring average to 8.1 points per game. She also pulled down six rebounds and blocked two shots.
“I know one time I got the ball and had a wide open look because their outside players were focused on guarding Alita [Zabrecky],” said Rush of her team’s looks from behind the arc. “Having Kate out there was great too because she’s going to knock down those shots.”

Clawson finished with 15 points, 12 of them coming in the first half. Prior to her three-pointer that put the Mules up by nine, she scored six points in just over a minute, netting layups from the right and left blocks as well as a baseline jumper.

The five Mule starters scored all but six of Muhlenbergs 67 points and four of the five starters reached double digits as part of a well-balanced attack.

Sophomore Nicole Pepe recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end.

Zabrecky scored 14 points, including perfect 2-for-2 shooting from long range, and had four steals.

Rounding out the effort by the starting five was junior Leeann Lanza, who scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots.

“From my perspective, I trust giving the ball to anyone on the court,” said Rush. “We play together so much that, even though we use different starting rotations, we know who’s going to be open and who’s going to be able to run the play.”

The Mules held on to their lead with the help of stingy second-half defense. They limited McDaniel to just 19.2-percent shooting from the field and just 9.1-percent from long range after the halftime break.

On the boards, Muhlenberg outrebounded the Green Terror by a 45-32 margin.

Rush and junior Colleen Caldwell each dished out five assists. Rush also had three steals.

“We’ve been practicing some new stuff and we just executed it,” added Rush. “We were still able to work our offense and execute it even though they were playing a zone and all over Alita every time down.”
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