McKeon makes way for Muhlenberg
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Kelly McKeon and Alexandra Chili combined for 34 second-half points to rally Muhlenberg College to a 74-69 victory against the University of Rochester at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
The win puts the Mules (23-5) into the sectional round of the NCAA Division III playoffs against second-ranked Amherst College. Sites for the four sectionals will be announced by the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Committee on Sunday.
Rochester finished its season at 21-6. The Yellowjackets built a 17-point lead, 43-26, at halftime, but the Mules roared back to win. McKeon finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. Chili had 24 points, including 10 of 12 free throws.
Jodie Luther had a double-double for Rochester with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Melissa Alwardt scored 14 points, Danielle McNabb had 13, and Madeline Korber scored 10.
“In the first half, we had lots of open looks and couldn’t make a shot,” said Muhlenberg coach Ron Rohn. “We got out of our game. At halftime, we said we’re gonna attack the whole second half.”
Rochester used a burst of its own, outscoring Muhlenberg, 12-0, in 3 minutes to open a 40-23 lead with 2:22 left in the first half. Luther had five points in the burst and McNabb scored four.
“At halftime, we had some cause for concern among the coaching staff,” said Rochester head coach Jim Scheible. “We were making shots, but we weren’t playing well.”
Rohn urged his team to come back step by step. McKeon was the ringleader. She scored 11 points in the first 3:40. “We talked about getting it down to 10 with 10 minutes left. I looked up at the scoreboard and we were down nine with 16 minutes to play.”
Sheila Cook scored four points in a 10-3 run for Muhlenberg that cut Rochester’s lead to 51-49 with 13:23 left. Rochester got layups by Laney Ming and Korber to keep the lead at four. McKeon hit a jumper and Chili made two free throws to tie it at 55-55 with 8:04 left. After Luther’s jumper put Rochester up, 57-55, McKeon hit a 3-pointer to put Muhlenberg ahead for the first time, 58-57.
Rochester went through a stretch of 5:26 without a field goal. In that time, Muhlenberg opened its lead to 66-59. Muhlenberg made seven free throws in the final 43 seconds to clinch the win.
“Give them the credit,” Scheible said. “They made the plays. McKeon came out in the second half blistering. What you saw was a senior not wanting it to end. Once she got going, they got energized.”