BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College is continuing its look back at its 2016-17 athletic campaign. The next event in the Top 10 Exciting Games from the past year is our No. 3 highlight – the women's basketball squad beginning the 2016-17 season with a 58-50 win at rival and No. 17 Muhlenberg College.
The Greyhounds, who are in the top ten for a second time after the No. 6 story on the team's win at nationally-ranked The University of Scranton, completed the season with a 20-8 record while reaching the Landmark Conference Semifinals and ECAC Division III Tournament Quarterfinals. The Hounds used the victory to begin the season with a three-game winning streak, and the squad would go on to secure a postseason berth for the 16th consecutive season.
On the evening of November 15, the Greyhounds made the trek to Allentown to battle the rival Mules in the season opener for both squads that reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament the prior year. It was a different team for Moravian that was looking on replacing three starters from the NCAA Tournament squad.
Senior guard Morgan Calabrese needed just 10 seconds to get Moravian on the scoreboard and two free throws by senior forward Camille McPherson and one by junior forward Trista Cunningham had the Greyhounds up 5-0 just 56 seconds into the game. However, the Mules scored nine straight points to take a 9-5 lead. Trailing 11-9, the Blue and Grey scored seven straight points including a three-point play from Calabrese, a lay-up by junior center Ciara Stewart and a lay-up from McPherson to take a 16-11 lead with 2:44 left in the opening quarter. McPherson added her eighth point of the game with 35 seconds left in the first to give Moravian an 18-14 lead after 10 minutes of action.
The second quarter saw the score tied twice and the Hounds leading just 25-24 with 3:55 before the intermission. Moravian would score eight straight on a three-pointer from freshman guard Maddie Capuano and five points by Stewart for a 33-24 lead just 1:45 later. The Mules scored the final four points of the half but the Hounds headed to the locker room with a 33-28 lead.
Cunningham connected on a pair of free throws to open the scoring in the third quarter but the Mules closed the gap to one point again at 35-34. McPherson connected on a pair of free throws and two three-pointers to push the lead to 43-36, and a free throw from Stewart had the edge back to nine points at 47-38 with 2:40 left in the third quarter. Muhlenberg picked up a three-point play but Moravian would head to the fourth quarter with a 47-41 lead.
Cunningham and McPherson each hit baskets early in the fourth quarter as the Greyhounds' advantage hit double digits for the first time at 51-41. The Hounds would go on to push the lead to 11 points on three occasions before settling for the eight-point victory.
McPherson finished the contest with her first career double-double as she recorded a then career-high 30 points to go with a career-best 19 rebounds to lead the Greyhounds. Calabrese added nine points and eight boards while Stewart contributed eight points, five rebounds and three blocked shots in her first collegiate basketball game. Capuano tossed in six points to go with four assists while Cunningham had five points and five rebounds in her first career start.
"Starting the year with a win at Muhlenberg without freshman forward Nadine Ewald due to injury was a huge accomplishment for the team," stated Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk, who was in her 30th year leading the program. "Our season really was defined by the grit we showed in that game with multiple players stepping up. The win was the cornerstone to our success and proved to players and coaches alike that we could compete with anyone."
Read the original game story at http://moraviansports.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20161115z5jjn0 with links to stats, photos and video of the game.
The number two highlight in the top 10 Exciting Games of 2016-17 will be released on Wednesday, July 19.