Whenever her teammates on the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team make a joke at her expense, junior Alita Zabrecky knows exactly how to get them back.
A native of Center Valley, which just so happens to be the home of one of the Lehigh Valley’s other strong programs, DeSales, Zabrecky just threatens to go home.
“She’ll tell us she’s going to transfer,” sophomore Erin Laney said with a laugh after the Mules’ 66-60 win over the Bulldogs last night. “So I guess it’s a good thing we won, because now we know she’ll stay.”
It’s a good-natured joke, of course. Zabrecky isn’t going anywhere soon, which is good news for the Mules and bad news for future opponents.
It was that well-rounded game that helped her gain attention when she came out of Southern Lehigh High School. But while Zabrecky could have literally walked home whenever she wanted had she chose DeSales, she said she could not imagine going to college a little more than a long 3-pointer away from her house.
But it was more than just location that drew Zabrecky to Muhlenberg. Her mother, Judy, is a Muhlenberg grad, and when Alita visited the school and met her future teammates, she said she knew right away that she would become a Mule.
“DeSales is a great school and they have a great program, but it was a little too close for me,” said Zabrecky, who led the Mules with 16 points and added eight rebounds last night to move to 2-1 in her career against DeSales. “Muhlenberg gave me the opportunity to still be close to home but have some space at the same time. And when I met the team and saw how they played, I knew this was where I wanted to be.
“It’s always pretty neat playing against DeSales. But losing to them in overtime last year felt awful. So it was nice to be able to get them back.”
More than two years after choosing Muhlenberg, it seems to be a match made in heaven. Zabrecky has helped the Mules make two NCAA Tournaments, including advancing to last year’s “Sweet 16.”
This year, she has been an integral part of the Mules’ 7-0 start and No. 13 national ranking. Zabrecky, who ranks third in the conference in scoring, is the only Mule to reach double figures in every game this season.
According to Laney, what makes her such a solid player is her relentless hustle. And after playing against her in practice, she said she is really glad Zabrecky chose Muhlenberg.
“Alita is such a great player,” Laney said. “She goes all out on every play, even in practice. I don’t know how she doesn’t get tired; it’s amazing.
“Some of the things she can do are pretty amazing, and I’m really glad she’s on our team because we don’t have to worry about trying to stop her.”