Mulligan continues to lead the way for Woodland girls


One thing that is for certain in the field of athletic competition … you win some and you lose some. On any given night anything can happen. When push comes to shove, you need that player who can rise to the occasion.
The Woodland girls basketball team (10-6 as of Feb. 2) has such a player in Casey Mulligan. The junior forward has led the team in scoring 13 times out of 16 games. When she wasn’t doing that, she was getting her teammates involved with four other players reaching double digits in multiple games this season.
During the season, the road sometimes gets a little bit steeper than it was. That is when you need that go-to player to stand up and take their game to another level. Mulligan found herself in that situation and responded scoring over 20 points in three straight games. After scoring 21 points in a win over Kaynor Tech, Mulligan hit for a season-high 27 in a win over Kennedy on Jan. 24.
“Casey is playing really well for us right now,” said Woodland coach Jenn Deeley, “but she has been playing well right along for us all season, especially on the defensive end and has been leading the team in rebounds the last couple of games.”
Then came a tough 55-38 setback to St. Paul on Jan. 27 with Mulligan scoring a team-high 21 points. The Hawks lost a stabilizing influence in Isabella Mastropietro due to a season-ending injury and saw Erin Donnelly riding the pine with an ankle injury. The latest casualty is Ireland Starziski, out with an ankle injury.
“When it rains it pours,” said Deeley. “First we lost Isabella for the season then Erin was out for a few games. Now we have Ireland out. Hopefully we can get her back and then stay healthy the rest of the season if we want to be successful.”
Suddenly, Woodland didn’t have the same kind of depth and the offense struggled to keep up with the new demand. The Hawks lost their second game in a row, 36-33, to WCA on Jan. 31. Mulligan led the way with 12 points, Peyton Filippone added nine and Jenna Chicano chipped in with five. Woodland went into the final quarter clinging to a 24-21 lead but couldn’t hold on as WCA put together a 15-9 advantage in the final stanza to pull out the win.
Woodland needed to make something happen and they did against a very good Nonnewaug team with a 53-29 road win on Feb. 1. It was an even first quarter (6-6) before the Hawks took flight in the second, scoring 27 points, including six 3-pointers, to open up a 33-13 halftime lead.
Mulligan scored 12 of her 18 in the second quarter and Chicano added 12 total points and Michaela Gasparri contributed 10. Lindsay Koliani chipped in with seven and Filippone added six to complete the offense.
“We can’t keep putting just five players out there,” said Deeley. “We need some depth. Lucia Rubano and Carina Rodriguez are low-post players and they have been giving us valuable minutes. They are physical and strong defenders.
“Currently we are at the top of the division. We will need to win out if we plan on staying there and we have some tough matchups in the division coming up. Every game is going to be crucial at this time of the season.”
Woodland was scheduled to play at Ansonia on Tuesday before closing the week at Oxford on Friday.
The Hawks end the regular season the following week with home games against Derby and Ansonia.