ALLENTOWN, Pa. – In a matchup that lived up to its top billing, the Haverford College women's basketball team was edged, 53-51, by No. 19 Muhlenberg in a contest between two teams with previously unblemished Centennial Conference records at Memorial Hall. The Fords are now 6-2 (3-1 CC) while Muhlenberg improves to a perfect 8-0 (5-0 CC) mark. Macy Goldbach led the way for the Fords offensively with 11 points while Sierra Berkel (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Samantha Wetzel (eight points, 10 rebounds) each narrowly missed double-double efforts.
Muhlenberg began the contest on a 5-0 run, but Megan Furch hit a pair of shots to cut the lead to just one at 5-4 halfway through the opening quarter. A Chelsea Gary layup at the 1:28 mark put the Mules up by four at 12-8, but Goldbach knocked down a three-pointer as the first stanza ended with the hosts clinging to a one-point lead at 12-11.
Katie Cook and Goldbach each connected on three-pointers as the Fords made it a 9-0 run, taking a 17-12 lead. Muhlenberg called for timeout, unleashing a 6-0 run to pull back ahead at 18-17 with 6:03 left in the half. Goldbach again knocked one down from distance and Anna-Sophia Capizzi put an exclamation mark on a Haverford run with a momentous trey for a 23-19 lead with just over two minutes remaining. Haverford scored all its points in the second quarter from beyond the arc.
An 8-0 Muhlenberg run opened up the third quarter, and the hosts took a 26-23 lead at the 8:08 mark. Wetzel hit a trademark mid-range jumper off a one-timed assist from Cook to cut the lead to one at 26-25. A Furch jumper gave Haverford a 29-28 lead with 5:09 remaining. The Mules pushed the tempo to the tune of an 11-1 run, leading to a Fords timeout with 1:46 remaining down 39-30. Capizzi ended the run with a trey as the Fords trailed by just six at 39-33 at the end of the third.
Haverford scored the first six points of the final quarter, tying the score at 39 with 8:05 remaining in regulation. Brandi Vallely hit a three and Gary knocked down a pair of free throws to restore a 44-39 Muhlenberg advantage, but the Fords went back to work offensively, cutting two separate Mules leads down to a single possession. Haverford whittled the lead down to just one at 52-51 with 41 seconds to play following the second three-pointer of the quarter from first year Julianna Clark.
After Vallely missed a shot at the end of a fresh shot clock, the Fords regained possession and immediately signaled for timeout. However, a traveling violation turned the ball over to Muhlenberg with just seconds to play. The Fords fouled Vallely, who made one free throw before intentionally missing the second, forcing the clock to expire before Haverford could have thoughts of an offensive possession.
Clark had a career-best six points. Cook added six assists while Berkel registered three steals. The Fords excelled at the free throw line, hitting seven of eight. Vallely paced Muhlenberg with a game-high 19 points to pace three Mules in double figures. Gary and Rachel Plotke each had 11 points while Carley Hamilton was a force in the paint with 13 rebounds.
The Fords have one final game remaining in 2017, a Saturday matinee at home against Washington College. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m. inside the Gooding '84 Arena. The conference schedule will then resume following a break for the winter holidays on January 6 at home against Dickinson.