HAVERFORD, Pa. - The top-seeded Haverford College women's basketball team (22-4) will play for the Centennial Conference Championship for a third consecutive season after dispatching fourth-seed Dickinson (16-11) by a final score of 67-57 in the Centennial Conference semifinals on their home floor Friday evening. The Fords were buoyed by a game-best 24 points from Anna-Sophia Capizzi, who paced three Haverford players in double figure scoring on the night.
Haverford will meet second-seeded Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference Championship game. The Bullets defeated third-seeded Johns Hopkins by a 63-49 score in the second semifinal. Haverford and Gettysburg split the regular season contests. Gettysburg took the first meeting back in early January by a 69-64 score on the Fords' home court. However, Haverford exacted some revenge in early February with a 54-51 victory in Gettysburg.
In front of a frenzied home crowd, Julianna Clark added 17 while Megan Furch poured in 14 points. Cortlyn Morris was a force on both sides of the ball, pulling down nine rebounds and recording five blocks in a standout effort. Haverford shot 44.4 percent from the field, and knocked down six three-pointers in its third win over Dickinson this season. The Fords scored 16 points off turnovers, and limited the Red Devils to just a 1-for-10 showing from beyond the arc to help seal the triumph.
The offenses were slow to start in the first quarter, as Clark finally helped open the floodgates as she buried a three to put Haverford up 6-4 with under five remaining in the period. Capizzi then connected from beyond the arc herself to extend the Haverford lead out to 9-4. Clark later buried yet another shot from long distance, and suddenly Haverford found itself on the friendly end of an 11-0 run, up 14-4 with 2:44 remaining in the stanza. In the second, Furch drilled back-to-back jumpers to put Haverford up 24-10, prompting a second Dickinson timeout with 7:06 remaining in the half. Swift to respond to the challenge, a 9-2 run for the Red Devils prompted a Haverford timeout with 1:55 remaining and the scoreboard showing Haverford clinging to a seven-point lead at 26-19. Capizzi came out of that stoppage with a quick bucket before Nyla Robinson again found Capizzi from beyond the arc and the senior drained a three to restore a 12-point advantage entering the intermission.
A 6-0 run for Dickinson to begin the second half cut the Haverford lead back to just six, but Capizzi was there yet again for the hosts, as she unleashed a trey with under seven remaining in the third to extend the cushion back to nine at 38-29. Clark cut to the basket for a driving layup to put Haverford up 11 with 4:45 remaining, and Morris promptly found Caroline Andersen down low with a perfectly placed pass to extend the lead out to 13 at 46-33.
Furch drove into the paint for a layup with less than a minute left in the third to cap a 9-2 run as the Fords took a 16-point lead into the final quarter. Dickinson kept fighting, with a particularly strong interior presence to pull back to within 10 at 57-47, staying within striking distance at 3:14 to go in regulation. A 5-2 stretch put the Fords up 12 with 1:24 to go, and Haverford was then able to put the game away from the line, knocking down 11 fourth-quarter free throws to ice the contest late.
Haverford will be making its fourth appearance in the Centennial Conference Championship all-time, and its third consecutive trip to the title game. The Fords are looking to punch a third straight ticket to the NCAA tournament while hoisting back-to-back conference crowns. All of the championship action will begin at 4 p.m. inside Gooding Arena.