MU pulls away from Rams
By Mike Gross, Sports Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
You'd never know it from the results of this season's first women's basketball meeting between Millersville and West Chester, but the Marauders are quicker than the Rams.
To leverage that edge Saturday, MU had get to the rim, and to the three-point arc. It ultimately did, leading to a 76-58 romp before about 1,000 fans at Pucillo Gym.
Millersville (15-6, 12-5) thus remains tied with Shippensburg and Bloomsburg for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division lead with five games left.
The Marauders also made it very tough on the Rams, with regard to the division, by dropping them to 10-7.
Yes, West Chester put 94 points on MU in a 16-point romp Jan. 19.
"It was awful,'' junior guard Senada Mehmedovic recalled.
"All of us were in a negative place,'' senior forward Aurielle Mosley said.
"That was not my team,'' coach Mary Fleig insisted.
"But,'' she added, "we learned so much from that game.''
The Rams got 34 points off 21 turnovers in the first game. But Mashira Newman, Millersville's point guard and press break, sat much of the first half after fouling twice.
MU also had 21 turnovers Saturday, but, as you'd guess, there's more to the story.
Newman cracked the whip as the Marauders got through the press often enough that West Chester ultimately got away from it.
Critically, Millersville got the ball through it and to the low block, where awaited Mosley (23 points on 10-of-17 shooting and 13 rebounds) and senior forward Miesha Cousins (12 and 12) and their formidable low-post repertoires.
That led to the inside-out ball movement that created open three-point looks for Mehmedovic, who made five of them and scored 24.
This all started happening in earnest in the last eight minutes of the first half, in which Millersville got to the rim and/or the foul line on 11 straight possessions, to go from down 30-27 to up 37-32.
The lead would have been bigger had the Marauders made some free throws, but that was a game-long (12-for-28) issue.
Since they're not under 60 percent for the year, it's been a season-long issue.
It was all good otherwise. The game didn't feel as close as it was at halftime, but Mehmedovic, who looks utterly at home along the arc, hit two straight bombs with around 13 minutes left to make it 57-44. MU was never seriously challenged after that.
"I was a point guard in high school, and I took the ball to the basket a lot,'' Mehmedovic said.
"Shooting threes, I mostly developed in college, but it came pretty naturally.''
The Marauders travel to Cheyney on Wednesday, and the regular-season stretch drive ends Feb. 27 with a potential showdown against Shippensburg at Pucillo.
"We all have our individual goals,'' Mosley said, "but our team goal right now is to be No. 1 in the division.''
For Fleig, who's had all kinds of teams in 30 seasons as a college coach, this one is a pleasant mix in ways tangible and otherwise.
"They have a very good personality,'' she said. "The seniors have really taken to the underclassmen. It's been a good mix of youth and leadership.''n