Hopkins women are past perfect, lose in OT Muhlenberg wins, 73-71

Jays expect Div. III berth

March 02, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- There will be no perfect Centennial Conference season for the Johns Hopkins women.

Host Muhlenberg saw to that last night at Memorial Hall, rallying from five points down in overtime to edge the Blue Jays, 73-71, in the tournament championship game before a small but vocal crowd.

The victory guarantees the Mules a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament as the league champion.

Hopkins (22-4) -- which had a 21-game league winning streak snapped -- is expected to receive an at-large berth when the field is announced tonight.

"We've been sitting second in the region the entire season," Blue Jays coach Nancy Blank said. "And at the end we had a [school-record] 12-game winning streak. The committee tends to reward teams playing well at the end."

Hopkins needed a comeback in regulation, scoring the final four points on a turnaround shot by Centennial Player of the Year Julie Anderson and two free throws by all-conference guard Angie Arnold with eight seconds remaining.

The momentum carried into overtime when a jumper by Anderson and a slashing drive to a three-point play by Leslie Ritter shoved the Blue Jays ahead, 70-65.

But an opportunity to increase the margin even more faded when Marjahna Segers missed two free throws and Anderson couldn't hit a wide-open layup on a follow attempt.

Invigorated, Muhlenberg (18-7) came back to tie on two three-pointers by Amy Sandt. It clinched the victory with 20 seconds remaining on two free throws by Sarah Clark. She did not play in the first meeting, a game won by Hopkins, 73-57.

The Blue Jays had three tries to force a second overtime but couldn't convert.

"We could have played with a little more intensity. I think we just got outworked," said Blank, whose team beat Muhlenberg, 69-60, in the 1996 conference title game.

"I think we underestimated how up they would be for this game," said Anderson, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. "They came all or nothing and although we worked hard at times, we didn't string it all together."

The Blue Jays were denied a school-record 23rd victory and the first undefeated season in league history.

Muhlenberg's incentive showed in the first half when it doubled Hopkins' rebounding total and took a 38-34 lead. Then, a strong second half (12 points) by unheralded forward Lauren Krakowski kept the Mules in command until the final two minutes of regulation.

"For some reason, we weren't finding Julie as well as usual tonight," Blank said. "And, for Muhlenberg this was the only way to go [to the NCAA]. Who knows? We might see them again."

The home team has won all four Centennial Conference title games.

Arnold had 22 points and nine assists to lead Hopkins while playing all 45 minutes. Segers had 16 points and seven rebounds.

Sandt and Krakowski scored 16 and Clark 15 for the Mules.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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