Fords open NCAA tournament play against Rhode Island College

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College women's basketball team will look to add another chapter to a special season when it takes on Rhode Island College in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night at Ithaca College at 6 p.m.

Follow the Fords all weekend at Ithaca's tournament central website.

Haverford, paced by senior Nina Voith (14.5 points per game) and junior Elizabeth Lynch (13.1 ppg), has authored an impressive campaign that saw the Fords surpass the 20-win mark for the first time in program history on the way to a historic 66-56 victory over Johns Hopkins University in the Centennial final. Voith, the program's all-time leading scorer, earned the conference tournament MVP by averaging 17 points and seven rebounds per game over the two-days of action at Haverford's Gooding Arena. Lynch, the leading three-point shooter in program history, has nailed 51 shots from behind the arc in 2013-14.

Junior Jacquelyne Pizzuto (3.8 assists per game), who ranks among the national leaders in assist-turnover ratio (19th), directs a balanced attack that features six players who average more than five points per game.

Appearing in the national tournament for the fourth time in program history and second time in the last three years, Rhode Island grabbed the Little East's automatic ticket with a 64-59 victory over Southern Maine in the title contest.

The Fords, ranked among the national leaders in field-goal percentage defense (10th) and scoring defense (11th), will look to slow down Anchorwomen sophomore Vandell Andrade. Andrade, the most outstanding player of the Little East conference tournament, averages 14.2 points and 12. 1 rebounds per game while seniors Stephanie Prusko (11.8 ppg) and Cara Palladino (11.5 ppg) also average double figures.

Friday's second semifinal presents another matchup of two conference champions in Sage and Ithaca.

Sage won a program-record 17 games on its way to qualifying for the national field for the first time in history with a 61-55 victory over the College of Mt. St. Vincent in the Skyline championship. Gators' junior guard Megan Bowman garned most outstanding player honors with a 24-point performance in the title tilt.

Ithaca captured its third consecutive Empire 8 title with a 63-51 win over Stevens Institute of Technology. The Bombers, led by conference tournament MVP Mary Kate Tierney (13. 5 ppg), will be making their 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last 14 years.

The semifinal winners will meet in the regional final on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Ithaca will be one 16 schools hosting a regional this upcoming weekend. The regional winners will advance to sectional action on March 14-15.

Admission for the games at Ithaca will cost $6 for adults and $3 for students, senior citizens and children.

2014 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket