Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Hopkins women get crown, revenge; Jays beat Muhlenberg, earn 5th trip to NCAAs


ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The Johns Hopkins women's basketball team has the best record in the Centennial Conference over the last five years. But heading into last night's conference championship at Muhlenberg's Memorial Hall, the Blue Jays had just one title to show for their troubles.

Now they have two.

As it has done all season long, Johns Hopkins used an oppressive defense and an opportunistic offense and outlasted Muhlenberg, 59-39.

The Blue Jays victory avenged losses to the Mules in the last two title tilts and also earned Johns Hopkins (22-4) its fifth consecutive NCAA playoff berth.

"We definitely wanted to reverse that trend. We were due," said Johns Hopkins coach Nancy Blank, whose team was meeting Muhlenberg in the championship for the fourth consecutive time.

Yesterday matched the two best defenses in the conference, and it showed as both teams had trouble converting field goals.

Johns Hopkins had to rely on foul shooting (17-for-26) and second-chance buckets by junior center Marjahna Segers (16 points, 16 rebounds).

Blue Jays junior guard Leslie Ritter, the conference Player of the Year, finished with 12 points.

The Blue Jays, who have won eight in a row, are ranked No. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic Region and 24th in Division III.

They led by as many as 13 points in the first half, allowed the Mules to close within seven early in the second, then took 15-point leads two separate times in the second half.

Muhlenberg (16-10) got as close as 49-39 with 2: 43 left.

But the Blue Jays made six consecutive free throws, Kathleen Fitzgerald (16 points) nailed a three-pointer and Segers hit a jumper as the visitors closed out the game with a 10-0 run.

"Rebounding was a key for us. We really worked hard on the boards," said Blank, whose team owned a 42-35 advantage in that category.

"And Leslie did a good job of not trying to force anything while providing great leadership."

Jill Roth, Muhlenberg's first-team all-conference senior guard who missed the majority of the semifinal with a severe ankle sprain, was ineffective yesterday in limited playing time.

JOHNS HOPKINS -- Hamilton 0-4 0-0 0, Deaderick 0-2 2-2 2, Segers 6-11 4-8 16, Fitzgerald 4-9 5-7 16, Ritter 3-10 4-6 12, Malloy 3-7 0-1 6, Vaccaro 0-2 0-0 0, Schorr 0-1 0-0 0, Sumser 2-4 2-2 7, Butterwei 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 17-26 59.

MUHLENBERG -- Waterbury 2-12 5-6 9, Risley 2-4 2-2 7, Drennan 3-10 1-2 7, Lynch 0-2 2-2 2, Clarke 2-11 0-0 5, Roth 0-1 0-0 0, St. Lawrence 2-9 2-4 6, O'Neill 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 12-52 13-18 39.

Halftime--Johns Hopkins 28-17. Rebounds--JHU 42 (Segers 16), M 35 (Waterbury, Drennan 9). Assists--JHU 11 (Ritter 3), M 4 (Rilsey, Clarke, Roth, O'Neill). A--875.

Pub Date: 2/28/99

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