Women's Basketball Uses Its Height At Dickinson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christina Santone The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team had it working inside and out in a 59-40 win at Dickinson.

The Mules (3-3, 2-1) used their height advantage to open up a big first-half lead. When the Red Devils tried to neutralize the size differential by going to a zone, Muhlenberg hit outside shots down the stretch to put the game away.

Senior Nicole Pepe scored 14 points, all in the second half with 12 coming on three-pointers. Senior Hannah Rush added 11 points and made three threes, while senior Leanna Tallamy recorded her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Junior Christina Santone pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, the most by a Muhlenberg player in five years, contributing to a 57-35 edge on the boards. She also blocked five shots.

The Mules held the Red Devils (1-6, 0-5) to one field goal – a banked-in three-pointer – in the first 11-plus minutes to take a 16-6 lead.

Dickinson closed to within six, but Muhlenberg ended the first half with a Rush. In the last 90 seconds, the senior point guard hit a three to beat the shot-clock buzzer, drove in for a fullcourt layup and stole an inbounds pass. The Mules led 26-13 at the break.

Pepe made her first three-pointer on Muhlenberg’s first possession of the second half, but then the team went dry from the outside, missing eight of its next nine from long range as the margin shrank to five.

Caroline Barberi “The zone was really clogging up the middle,” said Pepe. “We went into the second half knowing that we had to keep shooting and not get discouraged by missing our shots. It was just a matter of time.”

That time came midway through the second half, when three three-pointers by Pepe and one by Rush highlighted an 21-6 run that put Muhlenberg ahead by 20.

Though restricted offensively by the zone, Tallamy and Santone (right) continued to have an impact in the second half, combining for 11 offensive rebounds.

“We can always depend on them to make big plays at big times,” said Pepe, who made her first start of the season. “The zone allowed other people to step up.”

Those other people included senior Laura Gregory (8 points, 9 rebounds) and sophomore Caroline Barberi (left – 8 points).

Besides moving the Mules to 2-1 in their season-opening stretch of four straight Centennial Conference road games, the win also made for a successful return to action for a team that had not played since losing at Haverford nine days ago.

“We were really excited to finally play a game,” said Pepe. “The Haverford game definitely opened our eyes to a lot of things we need to work on. Right now it’s mostly a matter of playing together as a team and having good chemistry.”
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