HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College women's basketball team came up short Tuesday night to Gettysburg College as the visiting Bullets edged the Fords, 61-55, in a battle between the top two defensive teams in the Centennial Conference.
Facing second-place Gettysburg (14-5, 11-3 CC) for the second time in a span of 10 days, Haverford (11-7, 8-6) pushed the Bullets, owners of the top-ranked defense in the conference, to the limit but Gettysburg's 11-for-11 effort from the free throw line in the final three and a half minutes of the contest proved to be the difference.
The Fords and Bullets played a tightly-contested second half as neither team broke out to more than a five-point advantage. Each time one squad tried to pull away the other would answer back. After Emily Duggan put Gettysburg on top with an old-fashioned three-point play at 3:19, Calla Miller struck from the baseline and Dominique Meeks followed with two free throws to push Haverford ahead with two and a half minutes left on the clock. The Bullets crept in front once again at 1:37 as Jessica Porter hit two foul shots to extend the Gettysburg advantage to three, 55-52. Good ball movement by the Fords led to a game-tying three pointer from Rachel Baskin with 40 ticks on the clock but Alyssa Isler's two free throws restored the Bullets lead at the 30-second mark. Looking for the equalizer coming out of a timeout, Baskin's drive came up short and Gettysburg went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 10 seconds to seal the victory and send Haverford to its first home loss of the season.
Trailing by nine with eight minutes to go in the first half, the Fords shook off their slow start from the field and battled back to tie the game at 16-16 on a Jacquelyne Pizzuto drive down the lane with four and a half minutes remaining until intermission. The 11-2 run included three three-pointers as Elizabeth Lynch provided a jump start to the surge with her first of four three pointers on the night and Miller followed with consecutive long-range jumpers. The final four minutes of the half saw two ties and five lead changes before Haverford headed to the locker room with a one-point advantage, 24-23.
Shooting 39 percent from behind the arc, the Fords tied their season high with nine three-pointers overall against the Bullets' stingy defense. Haverford also did a good job of taking care of the basketball as it kept the turnover total to single digits (nine) while scoring 17 points off of 17 Gettysburg miscues.
Lynch and Baskin finished with 12 points apiece to pace the Fords and Miller added a season-high 10 points. Pizzuto tallied eight points and tied her career high with seven assists while not committing a turnover in 36 minutes of action at the point guard position. Leading the effort on the glass, Meeks grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to move into third place all-time in program history. The senior forward was active on both ends of the floor throughout the night as she added seven points, two assists and three steals.
Isler led all scorers with 25 points including a 12-for-14 effort from the free throw line as her squad went 23-for-27 from the charity stripe overall. Porter and Jenna Swope chipped in with 16 points and 11 rebounds, respectively.
In the last of three consecutive conference home games, Haverford welcomes Washington College to Gooding Arena on Thursday night for a 6 p.m. contest. The women will look to earn a split of the season series with the Shorewomen before the men take the court for the second game of the doubleheader at 8 p.m. The Senior Varsity Blanket Ceremony will take place at halftime of the men's contest.