Feb. 25, 2012
BALTIMORE, MD - Third-seeded Muhlenberg built a 30-23 lead going into halftime over top-seeded Johns Hopkins en route to a 74-53 victory in the Centennial Conference championship game on Saturday evening. The Blue Jays fell to 23-4 on the season while the Mules moved to 22-5 overall and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, beginning next weekend.
As time expired in the first half, freshman Jessica Brown cut the Mule lead to seven, 30-23. The Blue Jays came out of half and junior Alex Vassila hit a jumper and senior Chantel Mattiola hit a three-pointer sandwiched around a layup from Alita Zabrecky to cut the lead to four but that would prove to be as close as Hopkins would come to the Mules. Leeann Lanza hit a jumper with 13:50 showing on the clock to give Muhlenberg its first double-digit lead, 41-31, one it would not surrender.
After Muhlenberg jumped out to a 15-point lead with 9:18 left to play, Brown hit her only three of the game before freshman Haley Bush hit both free throws on a trip to the charity stripe with 8:21 to go to cut the lead back to 10, 55-45. The Mules then scored the next eight points to put the game out of the reach of the Blue Jays, 63-45 with 2:08 left.
Sophomore Katie Brooks hit two triples around a two-for-two trip to the free throw line for Alexandra Chili, but the Blue Jays could not dig themselves out as the Mules hit nine free throws over the final 1:22 to secure a 73-54 victory in the Centennial Conference title game.
The Blue Jays were held to a season-low 22.7% clip from the field (15-for-66) while the Mules shot 37.8% (22-for-58). Hopkins won the battle on the glass, 50-42, and outscored Muhlenberg 13-7 on second chance points. Hopkins bench chipped in 24 points while the Mules scored 17 points off turnovers.
Senior Stephanie Fong and Bush led the Blue Jays in scoring with 10 points apiece while Vassila pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds. Fong handed out nine assists while Vassila swatted away three shots. Chili led all scoring with 28 points to set a new conference scoring record with 1,966 career points.
The Blue Jays now await the NCAA selection show to learn if they earned an at-large bid to the 2012 tournament. The selection show will be aired Monday, February 27 at 2:30 pm on ncaa.com. Check back to www.hopkinssports.com Monday afternoon for information on the up coming NCAA tournament.