Women's Basketball Breezes to 24-Point Win at Ursinus

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - page 2

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team usually spends the second half of road doubleheaders watching the men’s team play. This time, the Mules spent it watching Ursinus struggle mightily on offense.

Nicole Pepe
Pepe's previous career high was 14 points.
Playing the nightcap of the doubleheader for the first time this season, Muhlenberg put on one of its best defensive performances, holding the Bears to 27.3-percent shooting (15-for-55), including a 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) effort from downtown, in a 67-43 win.

The 24-point margin of victory was the largest for the Mules (9-7, 6-4) this season, and the 43 points allowed matched their fewest in a Centennial Conference road game in two years.

Junior Leanna Tallamy led all scorers with 25 points, going 7-for-12 from the field and 11-of-13 at the line as Muhlenberg won for the fourth time in five games.

Leanna Tallamy
Tallamy scored 14 of her 25 points in the first half. Her 11 free throws game her a CC-leading 99 this year.
“We’ve been working on getting to the right spots as fast as we can on defense,” said junior Nicole Pepe, who netted a career-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and equaled a career high with four three-pointers. “Our execution on both ends of the floor was really good.”

Muhlenberg never trailed and led by as many as 30 in defeating Ursinus (6-9, 4-6) for the 11th straight time. The Mules scored the game’s first five points and slowly built a sizeable lead from there, going ahead by double digits for the first time on a layup by senior Leeann Lanza (nine points, seven rebounds) that made it 16-6 at the 13:09 mark. The lead hovered around there for much of the first half until a putback by Tallamy and three-pointer by Pepe sent the Mules into the break with a 38-21 lead.

Muhlenberg held the Bears scoreless for nearly seven and a half minutes spanning halftime, rattling off a 12-3 run that Ursinus finally stopped with a three-pointer nearly three minutes into the second half. By that time, the Mules had already amassed a 43-21 advantage, and it only swelled from there. All 15 players saw action, and Muhlenberg allowed only six second-half field goals by the Bears, who matched their season low in scoring.

Other than Lanza, who added two blocks and two steals to her ledger, only Tallamy and Pepe scored more than four points. That was just fine for the Mules, whose inside-outside tandem packed more than enough punch to keep them comfortably ahead the whole way. Pepe was locked in from the get-go, going 3-for-4 from distance and scoring 11 of her points in the first half. The key, it turns out, was simply to stop thinking.

“I’ve definitely been in a slump, but at the same time you have to focus on the team and not yourself,” Pepe said. “Good things happen when you do that. I play a lot better when I don’t think.”

After a stretch of six losses in seven games, the Mules find themselves on a bit of a roll heading into the second leg of a three-game road swing that includes a weekend stop at Johns Hopkins, which remains unblemished in Centennial Conference play.

“We’re super confident,” Pepe said. “This little roll is exactly what we needed. We never gave up on each other when we were struggling, and that was so important. Now it’s starting to pay off.”
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