CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The Haverford College women's basketball team held The College of New Jersey scoreless in the final five minutes of the game Friday night to claim a 54-49 season-opening non-conference victory over the Lions in the first round of the Morgan Stanley Tip-Off Tournament hosted by DeSales University.
Facing a 49-46 deficit with a little over five minutes remaining, Haverford (1-0) turned up the defense and scored eight unanswered points to close out the contest. After Kelly Roddy nailed a shot from behind the arc at 5:22 to give TCNJ (0-1) the slim lead, Jacquelyne Pizzuto converted two free throws at the 3:32 mark to cut the Fords' deficit to one. Dominique Meeks added two more free throws a minute later to push Haverford ahead 50-49 and the defense dug deep to force the Lions into consecutive turnovers.
Rachel Baskin provided some breathing room with a jumper with 51 ticks left on the clock that pushed the advantage to three, 52-49. Looking for the tie, TCNJ's Kelly Coughlin attempted a three with 18 seconds remaining that was off the mark and corralled by Elizabeth Lynch. Providing the final margin of victory, Calla Miller and Baskin both hit a free throw in the final 13 seconds of the contest.
The two squads battled throughout the first half as a layup by Lynch forged a 20-20 tie with five minutes remaining until intermission. After the Lions managed to surge ahead, 30-22, on a three pointer by Angelica Esposito with a little over a minute left, Nina Voith answered with a three of her own at the 34-second mark to trim the Fords' deficit to five (30-25) at halftime.
Haverford shot an impressive 42 percent in the contest (18-43) as eight of the nine players to see action scored. Lynch took game-high honors with 11 points including three three-pointers while Baskin tallied eight of her 10 points in the second half to key the rally. Opening the season with a solid all-around game, Meeks registered 13 rebounds, nine points and four steals. Baskin and Pizzuto also chipped in with three assists apiece.
Candace Vigo and Roddy each scored 10 points to lead the Lions. No TCNJ player reached double figures in rebounds as the Fords won the battle on the boards, 31-25.
The victory sends Haverford to Saturday's championship game where the Fords will encounter the host Bulldogs who claimed a 67-66 overtime victory over Neumann University Friday night. Game time is 3 p.m.