March 6, 2009

Courtesy of Westfield St. Athletics

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Senior guard Lauren Boyle (Wantage, N.J.) scored a game-high 23 points to lead Muhlenberg (Pa.) College to an 80-63 victory over Westfield (Mass.) State in an NCAA Division III Tournament first round regional game at Bowdoin College on March 6.

Muhlenberg, 25-3, advances to the second round where it plays the winner of Bowdoin-Castleton State game. Westfield State finishes its season 22-5, the best season winning percentage in school history. 

"Muhlenberg has some very talented players," said Westfield State head coach Andrea Bertini. "We played Muhlenberg hard the entire game and I am proud of my team. But Muhlenberg just had too many weapons tonight."

The Mules also had three other players score in double figures in their potent attack. Freshman guard Alexander Chili (Rockville, Md.) scored 18 points, making 6 of 11 shots from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Kelly McKeon (Watertown, Conn.) finished with 15 points game highs of nine rebounds and seven assists.

Sheila Cook, a 6-1 center from Rockville Centre, N.Y., had 16 points and tied for game-high honors with nine boards. Cook dropped in 14 of her points in the second half to help stop a Westfield comeback attempt.

In the first half, a key 12-0 run vaulted Muhlenberg to a 36-25 halftime lead. The teams traded buckets throughout the first 11 minutes of the first half before the Mules began their big scoring spurt at the 8:30 mark.

Sparked by baskets from McKeon, Chilli and Boyle, coupled with several Westfield turnovers, Muhlenberg took a 30-18 lead with 5:02 remaining.

Westfield reserve forward Molly Brogan stopped the scoring run with a driving layup at the 3:41 mark.

Westfield nearly cut the lead to single digits in the closing seconds of the first half, but senior Lauren Sylvain’s (Hadley, Mass.) 3-point attempt went halfway down the hoop before bouncing out.

Lauren Sylvain, who scored a team-high 21 points, was red hot in the first half as she led the Owls with 13 points, making 4 of 6 attempts from 3-point range.

Boyle (14 points), McKeon (11) and Chilli (9) powered the Mules in the first half.

Muhlenberg quickly took a 17-point, 45-28 lead in the opening two minutes of the second half, but Westfield didn’t fold. The Owls went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to seven with 14:45 remaining. Lauren Sylvain drained her sixth and final 3-point basket at the 15-minute mark and sophomore forward Christal Bello (West Boylston, Mass.) followed with an old fashioned 3-point play to make it 47-40.

But the Mules responded to the comeback by quickly building another double-digit lead with their strong inside-outside attack.

Muhlenberg outrebounded Westfield, 45-38, and shot 50 percent (30-for-60) from the field. Westfield shot 35 percent from the field (24-for-69), including 9-for-24 from 4-point range.

Senior forward Andrea Wasuk (Lenox, Mass.) - the Mass. State Conference Player of the Year – finished her fine four-year career by scoring 19 points. She was Westfield’s only other player scoring in double figures.