Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Five-Star Matchups

It's "Rivalry Night" in the Conference with traditional local matchups being renewed another time. Two of the places to be tonight are Collegeville and Westminster with women's and men's games that will have an impact on the Centennial playoff chase.

Muhlenberg at Ursinus (Women's Basketball)
The Mules (8-3 CC, 13-5) and the Bears (8-2, 10-7) meet in the 57th renewal of their series that has certainly picked up in intensity over the past two seasons. Two of the last four games (both at Helfferich Hall) have gone to overtime, while the other two games have been decided by a combined total of five points. Muhlenberg leads the CC in scoring offense (70.2), while Ursinus is second in scoring defense (57.0). The Mules are No. 2 in team FG percentage (40.1), while the Bears sit atop the CC in FG percentage defense (34.4). Two of the loop's top players will be on display in 'Berg's Lauren Boyle (15.1 ppg.) and UC's Carolyn Konstanzer (16.2 ppg.).

Gettysburg at McDaniel (Women's Basketball)
It's the annual Battle of Route 97 as the Bullets (7-3, 11-6) come callin' on the Gill Center and the Green Terror (8-3, 9-8). McDaniel has won 10 straight in the series to take a 42-29 advantage, but the last six regular-season meetings have all been decided by single digits. Gettysburg has not won in Westminster in its last 13 trips since a 1997 victory (65-54). The Green Terror leads the CC in FG percentage (42.3), while the Bullets are second in FG percentage defense (36.5). Keep an eye on a battle of the senior guards in McDaniel's Robbin Gregg and Gettysburg's Megan Hartman.

Muhlenberg at Ursinus (Men's Basketball)
This could be one of the biggest bumps in the road as the Bears (10-0, 15-2) look for an unbeaten Centennial season. It is the 92nd time that Ursinus and Muhlenberg (6-4, 8-9) have met on the hardwood with the Mules holding a 58-33 all-time lead and a 15-13 advantage since 1994. Last season, 'Berg ended a six-game losing streak in Collegeville with a 76-68 victory that put the Mules into the Centennial playoffs. Defense could be the name of the game in this one, as the Bears (39.3) and Mules (40.1) are 1-2 in the Conference in FG percentage defense. Stopping UC's Nick Shattuck is another thing, as the senior leads the Centennial in scoring at 22.4 points per game.

Gettysburg at McDaniel (Men's Basketball)
It is the 95th time that the Bullets (8-2, 13-3) and the Green Terror (7-3, 12-5) have squared off on the court in a series that dates to 1917 ... and this may be the most important game between the long-time rivals in recent memory. Gettysburg is in second place in the Conference - two games behind Ursinus. McDaniel is alone in third place, a game behind the Orange and Blue. The Bullets have won 12 of the last 15 games between the teams, but the Terror has taken three of the last four, including a season sweep of the playoff-bound Bullets last season. The battle of the boards may decide this one, as McDaniel's Chris Prior (9.5) and Brett Foelber take on Gettysburg's Andrew Powers (7.6) and Joe Spierenburg (7.4).

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