Women's Basketball Snaps Streak Against Washington, Again

Saturday, January 19, 2013
 

Men’s basketball Wrestling

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team has become accustomed to snapping streaks against Washington College.

When the Mules defeated Washington back in December, they snapped the longest winning streak in Division III basketball. And with a 77-69 victory today, they snapped their own three-game losing streak – Muhlenberg’s longest skid in six years.

“We definitely focused on improving our defense following the losses. That was a big thing,” said sophomore Nicole Pepe. “But we also were focused on supporting each other during practice and not getting down about the losses.”

Alita Zabrecky
With her 17 points, Zabrecky moved into sixth place on the Mules’ all-time list with 1,085 in her career.
Breaking the streak was anything but certain after the first 20 minutes of play. The lead changed five times in the first half, with the Mules holding a narrow four-point advantage at the break.

However, the Mules (10-6, 7-4) would hold onto and expand their lead during the remainder of the game, thanks to solid shooting from the field and 16 of 19 converted free throws in the second half.

Leading the Mule effort were sophomore Leanna Tallamy and senior Alita Zabrecky. Tallamy came off the bench and scored 10 of her 12 points in 11 first-half minutes and also added four offensive boards during that span. Zabrecky finished with a team-high 17 points.

Although the Shorewomen (8-9, 6-6) kept it close at the start of the second half, a few momentum-building plays were all the Mules needed to extend their lead.

The first of these key plays was a layup by Pepe following two offensive rebounds by the Mules. Senior Kate Clawson had a steal on the next play, and junior Leeann Lanza buried a jumper to put the Mules up by eight at the 16:54 mark.

Just over two minutes later, a three-pointer by sophomore Abby Stenger, followed by a defensive stop and a running jumper by sophomore Laura Gregory, gave Muhlenberg its first double-digit lead of the game at 51-41.

After that, the Mules led by no fewer than eight points until the final 20 seconds of the game.

“I think we were waiting for a few big plays to get us pumped up and then we were able to feed off of them,” said Pepe of the second-half effort. “Our defense was working really well so our offense fed off that success.”

Sophomore Hannah Rush dished out a career-high seven assists to help lead a balanced attack in which all but one Muhlenberg player scored at least four points.

Pepe finished with eight points, nearly half of them on a three-point play that put the Mules up by 13 with 3:40 to play. Also finishing with eight points, all of them in the second half, was Lanza, who also blocked three shots.

Junior Erin Laney added nine points off the bench, with seven of them coming from the foul line. Her lone field goal came on a crowd-pleasing alley-oop tipin of a pass from junior Colleen Caldwell.

The Mules shot 40.0 percent from the field after averaging just 29.2 percent in their last three games. They turned the ball over just six times after averaging 21 turnovers in their last three losses.

“I think things just worked really well for us because we were playing together and playing for each other,” said Pepe. “We were doing everything for our teammates, which is the most important thing.”
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