HAVERFORD, Pa. - For the second consecutive season, the Haverford College women's basketball team is the Centennial Conference champions. Haverford (23-4) secured its third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament with a thrilling 49-46 victory over Gettysburg (22-5) at Gooding Arena, as a frenzied home crowd saw Haverford outscore Gettysburg 30-18 in the second half to stun the Bullets for the third conference crown in program history. Haverford will learn its NCAA tournament destination on Monday, as the Division III selection show will be broadcast live on NCAA.com at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Anna-Sophia Capizzi was named the Centennial Conference tournament MVP after scoring 19 points in the final. Capizzi previously poured in 24 in the semifinal game against Dickinson, and added eight points in the final quarter on Saturday to help seal the honors. Julianna Clark was a huge factor down the stretch for Haverford, connecting on a pair of late threes to help fuel the comeback effort. Clark finished with 19 points of her own, putting a stamp on a storybook night for the hosts. Haverford shot 50 percent from the field in the final quarter while turning away Gettysburg on the defensive end on nearly every opportunity down the stretch. Cortlyn Morris finished with five blocks, including two in the final quarter to help preserve the win.
Clark connected on a triple with 1:34 to play, cutting the Gettysburg lead, which had reached an apex of 14, down to just one. Clark later tied the game at 46-46 with her three on the very next Haverford possession, and after a fruitless trip down the court for the Bullets, Capizzi was fouled with nine seconds left, hitting her shots to put the Fords up 48-46. The defense clamped down on the ensuing Gettysburg offensive set, denying a pair of shot attempts in the paint before Morris grabbed an offensive board and was fouled with just four-tenths of a second remaining on the clock. Morris sank her first throw, letting the second fall intentionally as the final seconds ticked off the clock, sending the Fords bench and Gooding Arena crowd into pandemonium.
Gettysburg began the contest on a 14-0 run, chewing five minutes off the first quarter clock with a strong defensive pressure that was able to limit Haverford's interior presence. Haverford fought back, heading into the locker room down by just nine. A second half surge saw Haverford trim the lead further, getting back within eight at the end of three full quarters of play. Capizzi connected from downtown to cap an 11-0 run for the Fords, but Emma Haner and Carly Rice each hit from beyond the arc to take that eight point lead into the final stanza.
Capizzi drained a straight away three-pointer to bring the Gettysburg lead down to just three at 38-35 with 8:05 remaining, but Rice had another answer, hitting a trey to put Gettysburg back up seven. Clark then brought the Fords within one to cap an 8-2 run, setting the stage for the tense final minutes that became championship moments for Haverford. Morris had a game-best 10 rebounds as the scrappy Fords won the advantage on the glass down the stretch at 38-35.
The Fords turned 13 Gettysburg turnovers into 15 points, and held an 11-2 advantage in second-chance points as a relentless rebounding effort recorded 13 offensive boards. Nyla Robinson again was a force down low, with five of her six total rebounds coming on the offensive end.