Muhlenberg finishes Hopkins' run at home Visitors defend title, end 21-game Jays streak, 71-61

March 01, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Jill Roth scored a championship game-record 27 points and Muhlenberg College made 32 of 37 free throws as the Mules defeated host Johns Hopkins, 71-61, in the Centennial Conference women's title game last night.

The loss broke the Blue Jays' 21-game home winning streak.

Muhlenberg (17-9) becomes the first team in the 5-year-old conference to win back-to-back titles, and the first visiting team to claim a championship.

The Mules, who defeated Hopkins in overtime last year in the final, receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Those pairings will be announced today, and Hopkins, which entered the week seeded No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic region, is expected to get an at-large bid.

Hopkins (22-4) picked an unfortunate time to have a poor game, shooting 34.4 percent (21 of 61) from the field and 59.3 percent (16 of 27) from the line. The Blue Jays also were out-rebounded 38-29.

"We struggled at both ends of the floor," said senior forward Julie Anderson, who got into early foul trouble and finished with 13 points.

"Our game plan was to keep them off the line and to play good defense and we didn't do either," said senior guard Angie Arnold, who had a team-high 14 points.

Hopkins led 26-20 with 5: 31 left in the first half, but Muhlenberg ran off 12 straight -- six by Roth -- and led 35-29 at the half.

Hopkins rallied with a five-point run to take its only lead of the second half. Two free throws by Arnold gave the Blue Jays a 43-42 advantage with 14: 07 to play.

Roth, who scored 17 in the second half, then made a layup and three-point basket for a 47-43 lead with 12: 39 left. Hopkins never got closer than four points again.

Muhlenberg, which made 24 of 25 free throws in its semifinal win against Western Maryland, scored 15 of its last 24 points from the free throw line, including the final 13.

"You have to give them credit, they came out ready to play," Anderson said of Muhlenberg, which arrived after a three-hour bus ride. "Their free throws were hitting when ours weren't."

Roth was hitting, too. She made 10 of 12 field goals, including two three-pointers and five of six free throws.

"She was focused," said Mules coach Tammy Smith. "You could see it in her eyes she wasn't going to let anything get between her and winning this championship. We were determined not to lose," said Roth.

"This is the toughest place to play in the conference," Roth said, "but the trophy belonged to us and we weren't ready to give it up."

MUHLENBERG -- Clarke 3-9 15-18 22, Waterbury 0-4 8-8 8, Roth 10-12 5-6 27, Lynch 2-2 0-0 4, Krakowski 0-0 2-2 2, Bedi 3-5 2-2 8. Totals 18-35 32-37 71.

JOHNS HOPKINS -- Anderson 6-12 1-8 13, Ritter 4-13 5-5 13, Segers 4-7 2-3 10, Nelson 2-5 0-0 6, Arnold 4-16 5-6 14, Edobar 0-1 2-2 2, Perry 0-1 1-2 2. Totals 21-61 16-27 61.

Halftime--Muhlenberg 35-29. Rebounds--M 38 (Roth 9); JHU 29 (Arnold 7). Assists--M 10 (Clarke 3); JHU 10 (Arnold 3). A--200

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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