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Women's Basketball Pulls Away from Elizabethtown in Season Opener, 62-58

Samantha Wetzel - Photo Courtesy of Wyatt Eaton
Samantha Wetzel - Photo Courtesy of Wyatt Eaton
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HAVERFORD, Pa. – In the season opener for both teams, the Haverford College women's basketball team defeated visiting Elizabethtown by a final score of 62-58 at the Gooding '84 Arena. The Fords were paced by senior co-captain Samantha Wetzel, who poured in 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her 14th career double-double. Wetzel also matched a career high with six blocks in an all-around effort. Haverford used a 23-point third quarter to ground the Blue Jays. The squad improves to 1-0 on the young season while Elizabethtown is now 0-1 in defeat.

In the opening quarter, Megan Furch got the Fords on the scoreboard first with a layup before a Katie Cook three-pointer stretched the lead to 7-2 in favor of Haverford. Elizabethtown battled back to take a 10-9 lead with an Abby Beyer layup, and capped of a 6-0 run with a pair of free throws from Mikayla Ruth for a 14-9 advantage.  Unique Tuberville finished a layup to cut the lead to just two at 14-12 before Raina Gully made one of two from the line. The Elizabethtown lead was just one at 14-13 at the end of the first stanza.

Maddie Gallic made a layup for a 15-14 advantage with 9:36 left in the second quarter, and finished the three-point play at the charity stripe for a 16-14 advantage. Julia Craig connected from beyond the arc to restore a 17-16 Blue Jays lead but Haverford regained the lead at 18-17 with a Wetzel layup. The Fords briefly regained a 21-19 lead on a Cook runner but Emma Hoesman nailed a jumper for a 23-21 Elizabethtown advantage with 5:15 remaining in the half. The score stagnated at 23-21 until Gallic again converted in the paint to tie the score at 23-23 with just a minute left in the first half. Marissa Emlet scored for Elizabethtown for a 25-23 lead in the final seconds of the half, as the visitors led by one at 25-24 at the intermission.

The Blue Jays started the third quarter with a three-pointer from Beyer, but Wetzel hit one on the other end to cut the lead to 28-27 in the early goings. Ruth gave the visitors a 33-29 lead with a trey, but the momentum then shifted strongly in favor of Haverford. Anna-Sophia Capizzi hit a jumper that capped a 10-0 run for the Fords, prompting a timeout from Elizabethtown trailing 39-33. Capizzi found the basket for a three-pointer with 2:17 left in the third, and yet again with the shot clock off in the waning seconds of the period.  Haverford extended its lead to 47-38 behind a newfound rhythm. The sequence included crisp passing, lockdown defending, and a rejuvenated outside shooting effort for the Fords. At the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Cook hit a shot from beyond the arc to give the Fords a 50-40 lead before Wetzel and Macy Goldbach both sank layups for a 54-42 advantage.

Elizabethtown remained poised and gave the Fords a late battle, cutting the lead to just five with a Lydia Lawson layup in the final minute. The Fords took care of business at the free-throw line, with Furch and Cook each hitting their shots to seal the win for Haverford in front of a strong and vocal opening night crowd.

In addition to Wetzel's impressive start to her senior campaign, Haverford had big nights from a host of key contributors. Cook heated up late for a double-digit scoring output with 12 points to go with five rebounds while Furch (eight points, four rebounds) and Gallic (seven points, five rebounds, five assists) each started their sophomore campaigns with a flourish. Capizzi added nine points to lead all players off the bench. Gully  chipped in four points and added three rebounds in her collegiate debut. Julianna Clark and Nyla Robinson also saw their first collegiate action in the contest.  

Ruth had 15 points and seven rebounds in a losing effort for the Blue Jays, while Hoesman added 10 points and five rebounds. The Fords shot 35 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point land on the night. Haverford excelled from the free-throw line hitting 10-of-13 attempts.

The victory was Haverford's first ever takedown of Elizabethtown, as the Fords avenged a 47-43 loss when the two teams last met for the 2015 season opener in Elizabethtown, Pa.

Haverford next returns to action on Saturday, November 18 at 3 p.m. against The Sage Colleges. The matchup is part of the Gwynedd Mercy Tip-Off Tournament. Depending on Saturday's results, Haverford will face off with either the host Griffins or Penn St. Harrisburg on Sunday at a time to be determined.