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Muhlenberg College

Friday, March 7, 2008

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Baseball, Softball

women’s basketball season ends
in ncaa first round

The DeSales women’s basketball team may not have been thrilled about having to play in Memorial Hall for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but the old gym proved to be very friendly to the Bulldogs at a crucial time.

Kim Rarick’s rim-hugging 3-pointer with a minute to play NCAA banner was part of an 8-0 game-ending run as DeSales ended Muhlenberg’s season with a 56-48 win. The Bulldogs (25-3), who won their 14th in a row, advance to the second round to face Salem State (22-6), a 73-63 victor over Marymount.

In a tight, intense game in which neither team led by more than six points until the very end, junior Lauren Boyle beat the shot-clock buzzer with an 18-footer from the top of the key at the 2:05 mark for the eighth and final tie, 48-48.

DeSales went ahead for good 20 seconds later when Caitlin Miller made a pair of free throws following an offensive rebound. After Rarick blocked a Mule attempt on the next possession, she took a shot from the corner that bounced on the rim a couple of times, popped up, then touched iron again on the way down before finally falling through. The basket gave the Bulldogs a 53-48 lead.

Muhlenberg (21-7) missed three field
Lauren Boyle
Boyle will enter her senior season third on the Mules’ all-time scoring list with 1,084 career points..
goals and two free throws in the final minute, while DeSales connected on three free throws to nail down its first NCAA Tournament win since 1990.

The game was one where the sequel matched the original in emotion and drama. When the two teams met way back in November, the Mules made the plays down the stretch to pull away with a 67-63 victory.

Points were a little harder to come by this time, as the teams combined to shoot just 35
Kaitlyn O’Malley
Sophomore Kaitlyn O’Malley gets fouled while attempting a shot in the first half.
percent from the field and repeatedly ran the shot clock into the single digits in the face of tough man-to-man defense. Every possession was hotly contested, and a four-point lead seemed like a 10-point margin.

“It was typical of two teams that know each other very well – it’s almost impossible to score,” said Muhlenberg head coach Ron Rohn. “It was just a very close game where a play or two makes the difference.”

On the strength of two 3-pointers by sophomore Alexis Bates, the Mules jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but DeSales scored the next nine points and did not trail the rest of the half. The Bulldogs’ biggest lead was 22-17 going into the final minute of the half; a basket by freshman Sheila Cook sent Muhlenberg into the locker room down by three.

DeSales led by five again, 33-28, before the Mules went on a 9-0 run – all on free throws – to grab a 37-33 edge with 10:57 to play. A 12-3 Bulldog surge, capped by a running jumper that slammed off the backboard and went in with the shot clock expiring, gave the visitors a 47-42 advantage with 4:50 remaining.

After Rarick, the leading foul shooter in Division III, missed one from the line, Muhlenberg got back-to-back baskets from Cook and Boyle to tie the score at 48.

Boyle scored a team-leading 18 points, while Bates finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Junior Erin McSherry pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, ending the season with 59 swats – one short of the school record.

Rarick led all scorers with 24 points.

The loss brought to an end the careers of Michelle Feldman and Abra Like, the winningest senior class in Muhlenberg women’s basketball history. Although disappointed, the duo was proud as it reflected on a four-year run that included two Centennial Conference championships.

“We have to look back at everything we’ve accomplished,” said Feldman, who recorded three rebounds, two points, two assists and two steals in her final game.

“It’s been an awesome career. I really loved playing here,” added Like, who helped spark the second-half comeback by scoring six points. “I think this year was my favorite of all. Seeing the chemistry of this team has been phenomenal … I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Click here for box score.

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