SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Junior Kayla Moritzky banked in a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the first-place Swarthmore College women's basketball team (16-3, 12-2) a 68-66 win over Muhlenberg College (11-8, 8-6) in Centennial Conference action Wednesday night.
The Mules' Nicole Pepe hit two three-pointers and Kate Clawson sunk a jumper to tie the game at 65 with 1:37 on the clock as Muhlenberg climbed back from a 14-point deficit. Down by one, Moritzky drew a shooting foul with 5.7 seconds on the clock and went to the line with a chance to earn the win – but missed both attempts. Senior Eliza Polli was able to grab the offensive board and find Moritzky open for the three-point shot on the right wing, which she banked in for the thrilling victory.
Swarthmore takes the regular season sweep of Muhlenberg – its first since the 2004-05 season. Ironically, the two games in the 2004-05 season were also decided by less than one possession.
For the sixth time this season, Swarthmore's played in a game decided by four points or less – the Garnet have claimed victories in five of those six down-to-the-wire games.
Three Garnet players finished with double-figures – Katie Lytle and Polli with 17 each and freshman Jessica Jowdy notched 16 points. Swarthmore made a season-high 13 three-points, including five from Polli and three each from Moritzky and Jowdy.
Lytle added 11 rebounds to collect her 13th double-double and eighth consecutive, while adding four assists and three steals. Moritzky tallied eight assists and four steals in the winning effort.
Clawson led the second-half effort for the Mules with 13 points, including a free throw that put Muhlenberg in front 66-65 with just over one minute remaining. Alita Zabrecky finished with a team-high 15 points and Leeann Lanza collected 11 points and seven rebounds.
Swarthmore gathered large leads and Muhlenberg fought back, something that became a common trend throughout the game.
Lytle opened the game with seven of Swarthmore's 10 points to take a 10-2 lead at 15:10 – five minutes later the Mules were on a 11-3 run down 16-15. The Garnet regained momentum with two treys from Polli and one from Jowdy to jump ahead 29-17 with just under four minutes to play in the first half.
Muhlenberg – crushing Swarthmore's 12-point lead - closed out the final 3:31 of the opening half with an 11-0 run led by Leeann Lanza with four points to bring the Mules within one at the intermission, 29-38.
For the first six minutes of the second half, the score stayed tight until three-pointers from Moritzky and Isabella Bellezza put the Garnet ahead 43-34. Swarthmore would pull ahead by as much as 14 points in the middle of the second before the Mules began, yet again, another comeback.
Swarthmore will travel to Johns Hopkins this Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. match-up with the Blue Jays.