Stellar defensive effort propels Fords past Muhlenberg, 55-41

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Stellar defense by the Haverford College women's basketball team held visiting Muhlenberg College to its lowest offensive output of the season Thursday night as the Fords took down the Mules, 55-41, in Centennial Conference action at Gooding Arena.

Haverford (10-4, 7-3 CC) hit the double-digit mark in wins for the third consecutive season and moved into a tie for second place in the conference standings with the wire-to-wire victory while sending the Mules (9-6, 6-4) to their third straight loss.

The Fords' air-tight defense limited Muhlenberg, the second-highest scoring team in the conference, to a season-low 14 first-half points and a 30.9 shooting percentage (17-of-55) from the field overall. The Mules' 41 points on the night represents their lowest scoring total of the year and over 20 points below their season average of 64.8.

Haverford jumped out to a 6-0 lead three and a half minutes into the contest before Alita Zabrecky cut the lead in half with a three-pointer at 15:26. The Mules would get no closer as the Fords pestered Muhlenberg into 13 turnovers, and a 6-of-28 shooting performance over the opening 20 minutes. Elizabeth Lynch contributed nine points off the bench, including two three-pointers, to help Haverford to a 26-14 lead at the break.

The Mules managed to close within six, 39-33, at the 12:48 mark of the second half before the Fords tallied 13 of the next 17 points of the contest with points from five different players to open a 15-point advantage, 52-37, with 4:45 remaining on the clock. A cohesive effort on the defensive end sealed the victory as Haverford effectively mixed a variety of defensive looks to limit Muhlenberg to a mere three field goals and two foul shots over the final 12 minutes of the game.

Running their record to perfect 6-0 at home this season, the Fords also executed well on offense throughout the night as they shot over 40 percent, (43.1), against a Muhlenberg defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in Division III in field goal defense.

Jacquelyne Pizzuto notched double figures for the third straight game with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and two three-pointers. Registering one of the Fords' finest all-around efforts of the season, Dominique Meeks chipped in with 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Zabrecky led Muhlenberg with 12 points and Kate Clawson added 10.

Looking to keep pace with the conference leaders in the tightly-contested Centennial, Haverford heads to Gettysburg College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. match-up against the Bullets (10-5, 7-3) in the first of two straight conference contests on the road.