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#4 Tufts Escapes Women's Basketball In NCAA Second Round, 52-46

Photo Courtesy of Alonso Nichols - Tufts
Photo Courtesy of Alonso Nichols - Tufts
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MEDFORD, Mass.- In an NCAA Second Round matchup between two of the premier defensive teams in the nation, the Haverford College women's basketball team (22-7) was edged by No. 4 Tufts (27-2) by a final score of 52-46 in an exhilarating contest at the Cousens Gymnasium. The Fords finish the season with the second-most wins in program history (22) as well as the Centennial Conference title. Haverford advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the second time in program history.

Haverford was paced by Anna-Sophia Capizzi, as the junior matched a career best with 19 points to lead Haverford while Maddie Gallic added 11 points. Julianna Clark notched seven points off the bench and Hannah Zoll collected a career-best six rebounds in the contest. Katie Cook notched three assists, finishing her collegiate career with 400 total helpers. 

The Fords held the Jumbos to just a 30.5 shooting percentage from the field, limiting the NESCAC Champions to their second-lowest field goal mark this season. Haverford held a 42-40 lead with 6:50 to play and the visitors were within two points with 40 seconds left, but ultimately the rebounding performance of the Jumbos was too much to overcome as Tufts collected 21 offensive rebounds and turned those caroms into 12 second chance points. In total, Tufts held a 45-29 advantage on the glass. 

Capizzi got on the board first, giving Haverford a 2-0 advantage, and added a trey with under eight remaining for a 5-3 advantage. Going into the first media timeout, Haverford trailed by just one at 10-9. A 5-0 Tufts run with defensive pressure mounting from the hosts was halted, as Clark got to the basket with 3:20 to go. From that point, a 4-0 Haverford spurt changed the early tenor of the contest. Tufts was clinging to just a two-point advantage at the end of the first 10 minutes at 15-13.

Haverford shot 67 percent from the field in the first quarter. A 6-0 run to open the second quarter promptly gave the Jumbos their largest lead of the contest at 21-13 with 5:54 left in the first half. Capizzi ended the run with a layup to cut the lead to just six with under four minutes remaining. Haverford forced a Tufts turnover with 2:46 to play, and Capizzi swiftly knocked down a trey on the ensuing possession. Haverford found itself down by just three at 21-18 with 2:39 to go in the half.

In the final minute, Capizzi knocked down a wide-open three to tie the score at 21-21 heading into the intermission.

Out of the gates in the second, Megan Furch gave Haverford its first lead since 9:04 remaining in the first quarter with a layup. The two teams traded buckets with Clark knocking down a triple, giving Haverford a 30-29 lead entering the media timeout with 4:43 to go. Tufts then unleashed another 6-0 run, with a Janette Wadolowski jumper giving the hosts a 35-30 lead with 3:31 left in the third. The Fords yet again had an answer with Capizzi connecting from beyond the arc and Gallic finishing a three-point play for a 36-35 Haverford edge with 1:13 to go in the stanza.

Clark added a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the quarter, as Haverford suddenly found itself with its largest lead of the contest at 38-35. A Gallic layup restored a three-point lead for Haverford with 8:20 to go, but Tufts rallied to take a 44-42 lead with 5:37 to play. 

Nyla Robinson found the basket with a layup to tie the score at 44-44 with 5:11 to go. From that point, Tufts picked up a pair of scores at the free throw line and benefitted from a Haverford turnover, with Emily Briggs later knocking down a jumper for a four-point cushion. Gallic sank down her free-throws to cut the lead to just two with 40 seconds remaining, but Tufts was able to finish the game with poise at the free-throw line, knocking down all four of its attempts in the final 35 seconds to pull to a 52-46 victory.

In total, Haverford shot 37.8 percent, including a 5-18 performance from beyond the arc. Tufts was paced by Erica DeCandido who finished with 20 points and added five assists. Cailin Harrington grabbed seven rebounds for the Jumbos. 

A memorable 2018-19 saw the Fords post one of the finest seasons in program history. Heading in the 2019-20 campaign, Haverford will have the tough task of replacing the leadership and production of co-captains Macy Goldbach and Katie Cook, but starters Gallic, Capizzi, and Furch will all return for their senior seasons to help headline the roster for the conference champions.