The first song on Muhlenbergs 2005-06 warmup tape was Dont
Forget About Us.
The Mules made sure that wouldnt be possible, putting together the
best season in their history. They won the Centennial Conference
championship for the first time since 1998, advanced to the second round
of the NCAA Tournament and finished the year ranked 20th in Division III.
With a record of 26-3, the team not only broke the team and Conference
records for wins in a season, but it also came within one of the College
record for wins by any team (held by 1992 volleyball). The squad also
joined 1944-45 mens basketball as the only Mule teams to have two
10-game winning streaks in the same season.
Piscadlo was 18th in Division III in assists per game. In addition to
finishing fourth on the CC career assist list, she also ended
up among Muhlenbergs all-time leaders in scoring (12th),
three-pointers (second) and steals (third).
But it wasnt just that they won, it was how they won. Determined not
to repeat the disappointing finish of the previous year, in which it lost
13 of its last 17 games to end up 11-14, the team developed a mental
toughness that enabled it to win close game after close game.
From the first game of the Scotty Wood Tournament to the first game of
the NCAA Tournament, Muhlenberg was at its best with the game on the line.
The Mules were 14-1 in games decided by fewer than 10 points, winning
their last five games by a total of 18 points.
And these werent your older sisters Mules. Two years after
leading all of college womens basketball in scoring, Muhlenberg
rebuilt itself around defense and rebounding, ranking among the Division
III leaders in scoring defense (a school-record-low 52.1 points per game),
field-goal percentage defense (.330) and rebound margin (plus-5.3). In the
previous four seasons, the Mules had won one game in which they scored in
the 50s; they won 11 such games in 2005-06.
Smith was named Scotty Wood Tournament MVP and averaged 8.3 points and 7.1
rebounds as a senior.
The team was led by seven seniors who graduated as the winningest class
in program history with a four-year record of 73-33. Point guard
Piscadlo was the floor general and set school records for assists in a
career (424), season (164) and game (12). Forward Stephanie
became the fourth player in team history to accumulate 500 points, 500
rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals. Forward Lacie Smith
also passed the 500-point and 500-rebound marks.
The other four seniors epitomized the unselfish attitude of the
championship team by accepting supporting roles. Tiffany Kirk was
team in three-pointers, Michelle Hirst and Sam Tager were
backup center and point guard, respectively, and Valerie Robuck
from shooting guard to center.
Only two teams in Division III history improved their record
more than Muhlenberg did in 2005-06:
|Johnson & Wales
Although the team was dominated by seniors, its top two scorers were
younger. Junior center Meghan Courtney had a breakout season,
Mules and ranking in the top 10 in the CC in scoring (14.4 points per
game), rebounding (8.6 rebounds per game), blocked shots (1.39 per game)
and field-goal percentage (.447). And then there was preternaturally
poised freshman Lauren Boyle, who averaged 10.7 points and seemed
to hit a
big basket or make a clutch free throw in every close game.
Picked sixth in the preseason poll, Muhlenberg went 16-2 in CC
regular-season play, sweeping two-time defending champion McDaniel and
defending regular-season champion Dickinson. The Mules lost at Johns
Hopkins early in the year, but held the Blue Jays to 36 points at home in
Muhlenberg won the CC regular-season title by one game over Hopkins to
earn the right to host the conference playoffs. In the semifinals, the
Mules survived a last-second attempt to edge McDaniel, 56-55, in overtime.
Their three wins against the Green Terror were by a total of five points.
In the championship game, Muhlenberg scored the final six points, five by
Boyle, for a 55-50 victory over Johns Hopkins that capped an undefeated
(15-0) home season.
Coluccini scored her season high of 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds
in the CC championship game.
Sent to Mary Washington for the NCAA Tournament, the Mules found
themselves down eight points to Wesleyan (Conn.) with 6:56 remaining in
their first-round game. As they had done all season, they made all the
right plays down the stretch, closing the game on a 21-6 run for a 57-50
win. In the second round, Muhlenberg led Mary Washington the last
undefeated team in Division III by six points at halftime, but the
Eagles soared in the second half for a 68-48 win.
Even though the season was over, the honors kept coming. Piscadlo and
Courtney, previously named to the All-CC first team, both earned
all-region recognition. Ron Rohn was named Mid-Atlantic Region coach of
the year after managing the 13-game turnaround one of the best in
Division III history.
Unforgettable, in every way.