Mules leave Salisbury with 80-66 victory
By Alex Blum
Last season, the women of ‘Berg basketball faced an early exit from the Centennial Conference Playoffs following their first-round loss to Ursinus 57-38. With the loss of six integral seniors to graduation, the 2019-2020 season was looking bleak. However, on Saturday, Nov. 9, the ladies proved that they are not taking a step back, but are instead pushing forward with force. The Mules traveled to Salisbury, MD, searching for their first win of the new campaign, and with four players notching double-digits in scoring, the ladies found themselves in the winning column.
While Salisbury may not be a Centennial Conference foe, this opening win certainly means a lot, especially for the three freshmen who all made their collegiate debuts. Sara Peretti ‘23, in her 11 minutes on the court, shined, and at the end of the day was the second leading scorer. Her 13 points only trailed Mikaela McGarvey ‘22 and her career high 24 points. Peretti also wrapped up the day with 2 rebounds, an assist, 3-4 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line.
Peretti reflected on her first collegiate experience and her outstanding performance.
“I was really excited to start off my career at Muhlenberg with a great game,” Peretti stated.
She continued to praise her teammates as well as Coach Rohn and his staff. Peretti is excited to see what the rest of her rookie year has in store.
“My teammates and coaches were very supportive and always made sure my head was held high. With this, I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds,” the forward said.
For McGarvey, starting off her second year with a bang certainly has her feeling rewarded.
“It meant a lot to me because we worked hard in the fall to prepare for our season and getting off to a good start was really important to us. We didn’t get the result we wanted at the end of last year, so it was nice to see our hard work pay off and come back with a win,” McGarvey said.
In addition to her 24 points, McGarvey went 8 for 11 shots from the field, while making 4 of 6 shots from the three-point line.
In addition to Peretti’s play, the overall team play was stellar. Collectively, the group shot an eyebrow-raising 59.5 percent from the field, something they did only once all of last season. McGarvey and Peretti led the Mules’ bench, and at the end of the day, the reserves accounted for a total of 52 points. The Sea Gulls, however, only received seven points from their bench players.
Having a reliable bench is essential for maintaining this level of play, and it will be even more critical if this group plans on making a run to the Centennial Conference Playoffs.
Peretti attributed this opening day victory to the countless hours spent working on their craft.
“We’ve put in countless hours of training and preparation for this season, and everything seems to be coming together rather well,” said Peretti. “Between lifting [and] conditioning as well as many hours in the gym playing pick-up, we made sure we were prepared for this season. Our shooting was on point in this first game, and that was a big contribution.”
Contributing to their success over the weekend was the group’s effort on both sides of the ball.
“We played tough defense and took good shots on offense,” McGarvey explained. “My teammates moved the ball really well and were able to find the open players at the right time. Also everyone was really supportive of each other and kept a high level of energy throughout the game.”
As the next game versus Washington College is approaching, the season is bound to progress quickly. Both women have ideas as to how to sustain a high level of play and grow as basketball players.
“I plan to keep contributing as much as I can and helping this team win as much as possible. Our main goal is to be conference champions, and that starts with taking down our rivals in the conference the first time we play them,” McGarvey stated.
Peretti understands the importance of practice as well as the improvement of not only her game, but that of her teammates as well.
“I’m going to continue to play hard in practice to not only make myself better, but my teammates as well. It’s very important to always give it your best in practice so you can do the same in the games. Replicating game-like scenarios in practice can lead to better performance in games, so I’ll continue to do that and stay focused for the rest of the season.”
The Mules take on Washington College in a C.C. matchup on Saturday, Nov. 16, and following that, the ladies will have one more game prior to the tip-off of the Scotty Wood Tournament, hosted annually at Memorial Hall.