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Women's Basketball Team Makes Valiant Effort in
Region 19 Quarterfinal Loss


West Windsor, NJ - Sometimes your best is still not quite good enough. The women's basketball team, minus the nation's leading NJCAA Division II scorer, MCCC forward Alexis Sweet, played its heart out in the Region 19 quarterfinal against Burlington County College on Feb. 22. Down by just three points at the half and pulling within two late in the game, in the end, the Lady Vikes just couldn't get the job done. Their 61-55 defeat is particularly tough, as this is the third consecutive year they have made it into the tournament only to lose in the opening round.

The Vikings clearly felt the absence of Sweet, who had been averaging 25.7 points per game until a season ending injury prior to the last three games of the season. Sophomore Azaria Crews stepped up in Sweet's place, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the fierce contest against Burlington, ending her Mercer career with a double double.

Other players also poured it on. Sophomore forward Marelys Williams had a double double, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Two freshman guards, Allicia Pickett (12 points) and Natasha Nichols (11 points) added to the total as well.

The Lady Vikings finish the season with an 18-12 record. Despite falling short of a regional title, Head Coach Mike Tenaglia, who completes his 21st season, is full of praise for his team. "We accomplished a lot this season. We are the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) champions, a great result."

There were also individual honors as well, highlighted by Sweet, who became the fourth woman in MCCC history to score over 1,000 points, finishing her career with 1,156 points. Also one of the top rebounders and free throw shooters in the country, Sweet was named to the All Region 19 and All GSAC First Teams for the second straight year. Sophomores Crews and Williams were both named to the All GSAC Second Team. Freshman forward Kristine Funk shot 83% from the free throw line and ended the season ranked 13th nationally.

Tenaglia notes that some of his first year players made excellent progress and will give the Vikings a solid nucleus for next year. Guards Pickett, Nichols, and Chanel Johnson should be particularly effective n the backcourt. Also expected to return is forward Chelsea Holman, who played some key minutes throughout the season.

Tenaglia observes, "It's always difficult when the season ends because we know we will never be together again as a team. Some of our sophomores will go on to four-year programs and we will have to say goodbye to some wonderful young women. We will miss them, but time stops for no one. They carried our banner proudly and have nothing to be sad about."


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Coach Tenaglia and Assistant Coach Jane Berlinger on the sidelines with team members during time-out.
Azaria Crews on the move for the Lady Vikes.
Marelys Williams contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Freshmen guards Chanel Johnson (foreground) and Allicia Pickett were solid in the backcourt.