December 08, 2017
By: Erica Rose
Well anyone who follows the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team, knew that last nights matchup would be one both teams had marked on their calendar. The Mules would welcome in Haverford, a squad who has become a rival over the years. Last season the two split the regular season meetings, with the Fords winning the CC regular-season title. It would be the Mules though who would come out as the Conference champions for the third straight year.
This year Muhlenberg, who moved up to 19th in the latest D3Hoops.com national poll, is once again a top contender. The team was 7-0 entering last nights matchup, 4-0 in conference play. The Fords with a similar record entered at 6-1, 3-0 in the Centennial Conference.
Now getting to the game, Head Coach Ron Rohn and senior Brandi Vallely admitted it was a bit of a sloppy first half. Both teams struggled to score, allowing the teams to alternate the lead throughout the first two quarters. Haverford would lead the Mules 23-19 at the break. The second half was a bit of a different story. The Mules defense played a big part in the game, and allowed the Mules to fuel their offense. The team opened the 3rd quarter with an 8-2 run thanks to Vallely who tallied for 6 of those points. Haverford would answer, but another 9-0 run capped off by Rachel Plotke’s triple would give the Mules their largest lead of the night with 1:32 remaining in the 3rd. But still the game was not over. Another back and forth quarter allowed the Fords to have one final opportunity to win the contest. Haverford found the ball in their hands trialing by 1 with 9.5 seconds to go. Once again however the Mules defense would rise to the challenge forcing the travel, and the Fords would never even get off a shot. Muhlenberg would barely hang on for their second straight win, taking this one 53-51. “When you’re a nationally ranked team, you’re going to get everyone’s best effort,” Rohn said after the win. But it’s not just that, this is conference play, the team is not going to keep blowing squads out of the water. (In the beginning of the year, the Mules won their first 3 conference games by 24 or more points, 2 of them by 40+. It wasn’t until their 4th game they were finally tested with an OT win, and then again last night.)
The Mules currently lead NCAA Div. III in total assists, 2nd in assist per game and assist to turnover ratio. Brandi Vallely who finished last nights game with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists needs one more triple double to break the D3 career record. The win improved the Mules to 8-0 overall on the season, for the fourth time in eight years.