Fords Nip Shorewomen In OT, 56-54
Mitchell With 11 Points and Career-Best Five Assists
HAVERFORD, PA – Haverford's Jacquelyne Pizzuto scored the game-winning basket with 10 seconds left in overtime to turn a 54-53 deficit into a 55-54 lead as the host Fords edged visiting at Gooding Arena in Centennial Conference women's basketball action on Thursday evening. The Fords improve to 12-7 overall and 9-6 in the conference, while the Shorewomen fall to 10-10 and 8-7 respectively.
In overtime, junior guard Kelly Mitchell (Laurel, MD/Academy of the Holy Cross) put the Shorewomen up 52-49 with 3:56 left in the extra period when she connected on a three-pointer. Rachel Baskin would trim the deficit to one at 52-51 when she made two free throws with 3:36 to go on the clock. On the next possession, junior forward Erin Fitzgerald (Greensboro, NC/Bishop McGuinness) was fouled and drained both from the charity stripe to make it 54-51 with 3:19 left. Nina Voith connected on two from the line to cut the guests' lead to 54-53 with 2:18 to go. The Shorewomen still led 54-53 with 24 seconds left in overtime when the Fords called a timeout just five seconds left after Baskin stole a Fitzgerald pass after the two teams had combined to go seven straight possessions (four Washington, three Haverford) without a score. Pizzuto would put the Fords up for the first time in overtime with 10 seconds left on a driving layup at 55-54. Washington called a timeout with 7.1 seconds left to setup a final play. The pass to junior forward Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, VA/Indian River) went through her hands and Dominique Meeks came up with the ball and found Pizzuto who was fouled with just two ticks left. Pizzuto canned the first free throw to make it 56-54 and missed the second, but the Shorewomen could not get off a last shot and the Fords hold on for the win. Pizzuto scored just three points in the game, but it was the final three points of the game.
The Fords scored the first six points of the game to lead 6-0 with 16:53 to go in the first half on a Calla Miller fast-break layup. However Washington scored eight of the next 10 points to tie the game at 8-8 with 14:37 remaining in the opening half on two free throws by freshman guard Ashley Espinosa (Reading, PA/Governor Mifflin). The Shorewomen took their first lead of the game at 13-12 with 8:09 left in the opening half on a layup by freshman guard Dee Maddox (Virginia Beach, VA/Norfolk Collegiate), but the Fords responded with seven of the next nine points to take a 19-15 lead with 6:37 remaining in the first half on a Baskin free throw. However, WC closed out the first half strong by scoring nine of the final 14 points to tie the game at 24-24 at halftime. The Shorewomen knotted the score at 24-24 on a three-pointer by Mitchell with 2:16 remaining in the opening half.
In second half, the Shorewomen scored eight of the opening 12 points to take a 32-28 lead with 16:28 remaining on a three-pointer by Mitchell. The Shorewomen led 36-31 with 14:30 left on a pair of free throws by junior guard Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School) and it would be their biggest lead of the ballgame. Haverford would answer by going on a 9-1 run to take a 40-37 lead with 9:42 remaining on a jumper by Elizabeth Lynch, just 50 seconds after Lynch had given the Fords their first lead of the second half on a basket at 38-37. Washington would counter with a 7-2 spurt to regain the lead at 44-42 with 5:08 left in the second half on a Maddox free throw. After the Fords scored five of the next seven points to take a 47-46 lead, WC regained the lead with 3:14 left in regulation when Pledger scored on a short jumper to make it 48-47. 28 seconds later, the hosts would regain the lead when Meeks converted a layup to put the Fords back up 49-48. Freshman forward Carley Kendall (Harleysville, PA/Souderton Area) leveled the game at 49-49 with 58 seconds left in the second half on a free throw. Washington forced a Haverford miss on the hosts' next possession with 44 seconds to go and the Shorewomen had a chance to take the lead, but Pledger could not make her shot, but the Shorewomen got the offensive board with 24 seconds remaining. However, the Shorewomen were called for a travel right after the inbounds pass with 22 ticks left. On the Fords next possession, Meeks was tied up by Washington sophomore guard Jackie O'Connell (Northampton, PA/Northampton Area) and the possession arrow favored Washington and the Shorewomen got the ball back with six seconds left. Meeks would draw a charge on Washington's Maddox with :00.8 left to negate the potential game-winning basket on Maddox. Meeks would get one last chance from near the free throw line, but her shot was off the mark and the game went to overtime.
Lynch and Meeks each scored 13 points to lead the Fords and all players, while Pizzuto handed out a game-high 10 assists. Baskin grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for Haverford. The Fords shot 34% (19-for-56) from the field, 62% (16-for-26) from the foul line and 13% (2-for-15) from three-point range. Haverford got 18 points off of 24 Washington turnovers, while only surrendering eight points off of 18 of its turnovers.
Mitchell led Washington with 11 points and five assists, a career-best, and was the lone visiting player to score in double figures. Pledger and Espinosa had 12 boards each with Espinosa setting a career-high in rebounds. The Shorewomen shot 30% (18-for-60) from the field, 60% (15-for-25) from the free throw stripe and 21% (3-for-14) from three-point range. The Shorewomen held a 53-36 edge in rebounds.
The Shorewomen return to the court on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Dickinson for a 4:00 p.m. Centennial Conference game.