FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Monday, Feb. 27, 2006)
WESLEYAN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RECEIVES
BID TO NCAA DIV. III TOURNAMENT
(Cardinals Selected for Second Straight Year, Headed to Virginia for
Game vs. Muhlenberg)
Wesleyan University women's basketball team which posted a record of 18-7
while being ousted from the NESCAC tournament in the semi-finals by
eventual champion Bowdoin, received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division
III tournament for the second straight year. Wesleyan will travel to the
University of Mary
Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. for a first-round meeting with
Muhlenberg College Friday, March 3. Game time is 4 p.m. The
other first-round game there Friday at 8 p.m. features host Mary
Washington against the College of New Jersey. The winners meet Saturday at
8 p.m. for a Sweet-16 berth.
Wesleyan went to the Sweet-16 a year
ago in its first-ever invitation to the NCAAs. Wesleyan defeated
Chestnut Hill, 64-46, at home in the first round before knocking off
Staten Island, 73-64, on the road to reach the Sweet-16. In the
sectional semi-finals at Southern Maine, Wesleyan fell to Springfield,
In 2005-06, Wesleyan got off to an
uncharacteristic start with a 2-3 mark after five games. Each of the
previous three seasons, Wesleyan stood 5-0 to begin the campaign.
The Cardinals shook off the tough start by reeling off 10 straight wins to
improve to 12-3 and at the time stood alone at the top of the NESCAC
rankings with a 4-0 conference record. Wesleyan closed out the
regular season with a 5-3 posting to bring a 17-6 mark, 7-2 in the league,
into the NESCAC tournament. Wesleyan, seeded third, upended Trinity,
72-42, in the first round before coming up short in the semi-final vs.
Bowdoin, 61-46. That game was played at top-seeded Bates, which
along with Williams, also received an at-large bid to the NCAAs while
Bowdoin earned the automatic bid as the NESCAC champion.
Wesleyan is led by its senior trio of
Hannah Stubbs, Ashley Mastrangelo and Meghan Robinson. These
four-year players have
combined to help Wesleyan amass an 81-20 mark over the last four
campaigns. Stubbs, who leads the team in scoring (15.1 PPG) and
rebounding (7.9 RPG) this season, is second all-time in scoring at
Wesleyan with 1,382 points, 34 shy of the team mark. She is a career
58.2 percent shooter from the field and a two-time all-NESCAC first-team
selection with the 2005-06 squad due out this week. Mastrangelo, who
became Wesleyan's 10th 1,000-point scorer when she eclipsed the plateau
during Wesleyan's NESCAC semi-final (she now has 1,001), averages 11.5 PPG
and 4.8 RPG. Robinson averages 6.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG while ranking
second on the
team in assists (2.4 per game). These three have started every game
this season as have junior Sarah Milburn and sophomore Nikki Maletta.
Off the bench, first-year Ali Fourney has played every game and is second
in scoring (11.7 PPG) while leading the team in three-pointers (33),
blocks (23) and steals (57).
Muhlenberg stands 25-2 and won the
Centennial Conference title for an automatic bid to the NCAAs, its third
ever trip and first since 1998. Muhlenberg has been ranked among the
top-25 teams nationally much of the season and entered the week rated no.
15 by D3hoops.com and no. 16 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The
only losses by Muhlenberg came on the road in conference play to Johns
Hopkins and Franklin & Marshall. Muhlenberg defeated both those
teams handily at home and also beat Johns Hopkins for its conference
title. Wesleyan and Muhlenberg have one common opponent.
Wesleyan lost on a neutral court to Gettysburg, 64-60, while Muhlenberg
knocked off Gettysburg, 52-38, at home. Muhlenberg has thrived on
winning close games, taking eight decisions in overtime or by five points
or less. Its loss to F&M came in overtime.
Muhlenberg has 16 players on its
roster, 10 of whom are listed at 5-10 or above. The Mules top scorer
is 6-1 junior center
Meghan Courtney, who averages 14.6 PPG along with a team-leading 8.7 RPG.
Her 38 blocks also leads the team. Muhlenberg has a steady starting
five all averaging 25 minutes or more with five solid subs off the bench
giving close to 10 minutes a game.
Wesleyan and Muhlenberg have met only
once in the past, that during the Scotty Wood Tournament hosted by
Muhlenberg on Nov. 21, 1997, won by the Mules, 78-51. Wesleyan
went 6-17 that year.
Host Mary Washington (27-1) was the
last undefeated team in the country until Feb. 25 when Marymount (Va.)
gave it a taste of defeat for the first time in winning the Capital
Athletic Conference tournament. Thus, Mary Washington entered the
tournament as an at-large selection. The College of New Jersey
(19-8) upset favored Richard Stockton in the New Jersey Athletic
Conference finals for an automatic bid. Wesleyan has never played
either Mary Washington or TCNJ.
FOLLOW-UP - Getting 40 points from its senior trio of Mastrangelo, Stubbs
and Robinson, Wesleyan did not trail in its NCAA Division III first-round
game vs. Muhlenberg played at Mary Washington Fri., March 3 until the 3:09
mark of the second half. The Cardinals led 27-22 at halftime and built the
advantage to as much as eight in the second half (39-31). But with the
score 44-36 and 6:22 to go, Muhlenberg, owner of a 26-2 record and ranked
16th nationally in Division III, began an 11-2 run over the next 3:13 to
grab its first lead, 47-46, with 3:09 to go. The run extended to 15-2 for
a 51-46 margin with 2:30 to go. Wesleyan cut it to 53-50 and had the ball
but a potential tying three-pointer by Ali Fourney, named NESCAC Rookie of
the Year for 2005-06, missed the mark with :42 left and the Mules made
their final four free throws.