PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the second time in program history, the Haverford College women’s basketball team is headed to the Division III NCAA Tournament.
The Fords will open things up on Friday in Ashland, Virginia, taking on Christopher Newport.
Haverford is 21-6 and the Fords earned an at-large berth to the tournament after falling to beat Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference Championship Game on Saturday, 44-35.
“It was a heartbreaking loss,” Haverford head coach Bobbi Morgan tells KYW Newsradio, “but a pretty exhilarating Monday when they found out that they got in as an at-large. It was a quick rebound from being sad to happy!”
Haverford can play defense. They allow just 47 points a game, which makes them the third toughest team in the country in Division III to score against. They hold teams to 31.7% shooting from the field (8th in the country).
Morgan talks about some of the players who are keying the team’s success this season.
“We have two seniors, Samantha Wetzel from St. Joe’s in Hammonton, New Jersey and Sierra Berkel from New York,” Morgan says. “They’re two post players. Both of them have hit the 1,000 point mark this year and Sam actually set the Centennial Conference record for most blocked shots in a career. They’ve really been our leaders. Then we also have a couple of really good guards, Macy Goldbach from Garnet Valley, Katie Cook from New York, who have also had just key roles for us.”
Berkel leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game while Wetzel averages 12.8 a night. Goldback has hit a team-high 41 threes this season while Cook has dished out a team high 114 assists.
Christopher Newport (23-4) also earned an at-large berth in the tournament after losing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship Game.
“They are a team that presses 94 feet,” Morgan says. “They throw every press that’s ever been invented in the game at you. So we basically have to have poise and composure and try to dictate tempo in some way and not let what they do defensively dictate what we do on offense. It’s going to be a challenge. We play a very, very different style. We play great defense, but we’re more of a grind-it-out half court [style] and they’re on you for 94 feet.”
The last appearance in the tournament for the Fords came in 2014 when they advanced to the second round.
The winner of this game plays the winner of host Randolph-Macon and Valley Forge in the second round on Saturday.
Friday’s first-round game gets underway at 5:00pm.