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Women's Basketball Denies Johns Hopkins, Reaches Centennial Conference Final

Julianna Clark
Julianna Clark

GETTYSBURG Pa. – In the Centennial Conference semifinals on Friday evening at Bream Gym, the Haverford College Women's Basketball team (20-6) defeated Johns Hopkins (22-4) by a 43-41 final, using one of the finest defensive efforts of the season to turn away the Blue Jays in the final minutes of the contest. The game featured 12 lead changes and nine ties. 

Anna-Sophia Capizzi had 15 points, while adding a career-best six rebounds and four steals. Maddie Gallic also poured in seven points and added a career-best 10 rebounds in the victory. Julianna Clark's shot with 22 seconds to go proved to be the game-winner as Haverford's defense denied Johns Hopkins on its final possession despite three offensive rebounds. The Fords have now reached the 20-win plateau for the second straight season, the first time in program history Haverford has achieved that feat in back-to-back campaigns.

Johns Hopkins had a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but both teams struggled from the floor in the early goings, with Haverford held under 30 percent in the first quarter. Goldbach hit a corner three to cut the Johns Hopkins lead to just one at 18-17 early in the second quarter, but a 4-0 spurt for the Blue Jays restored a five-point advantage for Johns Hopkins, matching their largest lead of the contest.

Capizzi grabbed a steal and scored on the fastbreak to give Haverford a 24-23 lead with under 90 seconds remaining in the second. Ultimately, the Fords rattled off a 10-0 run in the final 6:18 of the half, outscoring the Blue Jays 15-7 in the second quarter and taking a 27-22 lead into the locker room.  Capizzi had 13 points at the intermission. Megan Furch collected five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

Johns Hopkins began the second half on a 10-3 run, taking a 32-20 lead with 4:24 left in the period. Gallic converted a layup to tie the score at 32-32, and Furch hit a mid-range jumper to tie things again at 34-34 with 1:10 to go in the third. Macy Goldbach hit a trey with under a minute left to hand Haverford the three-point cushion heading into the final period at 37-34.

Strong interior defense for the Fords limited the opportunities that Johns Hopkins had in the post, as Haverford made the most of its pressure in the final quarter, holding Blue Jays' center Rory Cole off the scoresheet in key moments. Lillian Scott scored five straight points to hand Johns Hopkins a one-point lead at 38-37, but Furch poured in a jumper on the other end to restore the lead for Haverford at 39-38 lead with 6:01 to go.

Madison McGrath hit a three to give Johns Hopkins a 41-39 lead with 3:41 remaining, but Capizzi found the bucket for a layup to tie things at 41-41 with under two minutes left. Haverford found itself with possession in the final minute, the score tied. Clark grabbed the lead with an emphatic floating jumper, handing Haverford the 43-41 lead with 22 seconds to go.

Johns Hopkins called timeout, but their ensuing possession became a showcase for Haverford's defense, as Cole was forced into difficult shot attempts with the game on the line. Johns Hopkins was able to grab a series of offensive rebounds, but their salvos were well defended by the Fords, as Haverford prevailed in a tense affair to reverse a pair of regular season losses to the Blue Jays.

Lillian Scott added a game-best 19 points, while Diarra Oden also scored in double figures with 10. Rory Cole had a game-best 14 rebounds for the Blue Jays. 

The Fords now advance to the Centennial Conference Championship game, where Gettysburg awaits for a second straight year. Gettysburg dispatched Ursinus in the first semifinal. The Fords and Bullets are set to do battle from Bream Gym at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Haverford will be looking for its second Centennial Conference championship, with the Fords looking to join the vaunted 2013-14 squad as conference champions.