Women's Basketball Breezes Past F&M

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team is in a zone – in more ways than one – and doesn’t appear to be coming out of it any time soon.

Leeann Lanza
Lanza scored 10 points and blocked two shots to give her 100 for her career. She is just the fourth player in program history - and 34th in the CC - to hit triple digits in rejections.
The Mules built a big lead with a dominant first half en route to a 64-47 victory over Franklin & Marshall, their second in a row following a stretch of six losses in seven games. Muhlenberg’s high-low offense continued to hum and the new-look 2-3 zone took care of the rest, holding the Diplomats to 28-percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers. All 15 Mules played at least seven minutes, and 14 of them made a field goal.

Men Fall in Playoff Rematch

In a matchup of teams that have met in the Centennial Conference playoffs each of the last two years, the Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball team pulled away late in the first half and held on for a 76-64 win against Muhlenberg.

The Diplomats (10-4, 6-1), who ended the Mules’ season in the CC semifinals last year and in the championship game two years ago, broke a 24-all tie with an 11-2 run in the final six minutes of the first half and took a 35-28 lead into the break. Muhlenberg (9-5, 4-3) closed to within one twice early in the second half, but after the second time F&M went on a 9-0 run to open up a double-digit lead.

After the Mules cut the margin to four at the five-minute mark, the Diplomats answered with a pair of three-pointers.

Junior Malique Killing led all scorers with 22 points, and senior Kevin Hargrove recorded his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Alec Stavetski was 4-for-5 from three-point range for his 12 points.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” said junior forward Leanna Tallamy, who finished with a game-high 18 points. “We just had two big wins and we’re playing so well together as a team.”

The Mules (7-6, 4-3) were firing on all cylinders from the get-go, quickly assembling an insurmountable advantage with one of their best halves of the season. Muhlenberg was 18 of 30 (60 percent) from the field in the opening stanza, assisting on 16 of its 18 baskets and committing just six turnovers. Tallamy was in the middle of it all, scoring 10 consecutive points during a run that turned an early 4-2 deficit into a double-digit lead less than six minutes in.

The Diplomats (3-11, 1-6) closed to within 22-15 at the 8:20 mark, but Muhlenberg uncorked a 16-2 run to open up a 21-point cushion. The Mules scored on six of seven possessions to cap the stretch, assisting on each field goal. Tallamy had a pair of layups, senior co-captain Katy Mitton and sophomore Hannah Rush drained three-pointers, and junior Nicole Pepe provided the exclamation point with a layup that made it 38-17 with 3:43 to play in the half.

By the time intermission came around, the Mules’ frontcourt of Tallamy and senior co-captains Leeann Lanza and Erin Laney had combined for 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting (76 percent). Many of their baskets came on perfect entry passes from the perimeter, as the interior players consistently made easy targets with strong seals down low. Seven players recorded multiple assists for the Mules, who led by as many as 26 in winning their fourth straight in the series.

“We know when to give it to the post and when to kick it back out to our guards,” Tallamy said. “We’re really in sync as a team right now.”:

The Mules were even more impressive on the other end. F&M missed 10 of its first 11 shots, including nine straight after taking its short-lived lead less than two minutes in, unable to solve Muhlenberg’s recently installed zone. The Mules came up with 15 steals, led by junior Janelle Fleet, who equaled a career high with four.

In its last two games, Muhlenberg has held opponents to 29.8-percent shooting.

“It has gotten us to talk more and play more together as a defense,” Tallamy said of the 2-3 zone. “We can cover a lot of ground in that zone.”

A win in the books to begin a stretch of three games in five days, Muhlenberg is hoping to cover some ground in the conference standings. Locked in a four-way tie for third place at the end of the night, the Mules’ next two contests are against teams they have already defeated, so the opportunity to gain separation is certainly there.

“We’ve got two more big games this week,” Tallamy said. “These games are so important to our conference standing, and we really need to win them.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.