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No. 9 Women's Basketball Cruises Past Haverford (Pa.), Advances to NCAA Tournament Second Round

Sophomore forward Lilly Edwards (photo courtesy of Hailey Owens)
Sophomore forward Lilly Edwards (photo courtesy of Hailey Owens)

BEREA, Ohio - The No. 9 nationally-ranked Baldwin Wallace University women's basketball team extended its season and advanced to the 2020 NCAA Tournament Second Round by cruising past Centennial Conference champions Haverford (Pa.) College by a final score of 67-42 in Ursprung Gymnasium.

With the win, BW (27-2) advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament Second Round for the 11th time in program history. Competing against a Haverford (23-5) squad for the first time ever, the Yellow Jackets conducted their second-best defensive outing of the season. BW will hope to produce the same dominant performance tomorrow, as it takes on the University of Chicago (Ill.), the other winner from today's NCAA Tournament First Round action in Berea, with a ticket to the "Sweet 16" on the line. The Yellow Jackets also extended their season-long win streak to 13 games, and remained perfect on their home court, improving to a staggering 16-0.

The Yellow Jackets offense was led by four scorers in double-figures. Senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Riley Schill (Sheffield Village/Elyria Catholic) scored a team-high 14 points, and added three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore All-OAC forward Lilly Edwards (Dublin/Coffman) provided a spark off the bench, notching 13 points and a team-high five boards. Meanwhile, senior All-OAC guard/forward Hannah Fecht (Hilliard/Davidson) collected 10 points, four rebounds, and game-highs of four assists and three steals in the victory.

The Haverford attack was spearheaded by senior forward Megan Furch and senior guard Anna-Sophia Capizzi, who were the lone scorers in double-digits this evening. Furch scored a game-high 16 points, and Capizzi added 11 points and a game-high six rebounds in the defeat.

BW got the start it wanted to tip off the NCAA Tournament as it outscored the Fords 22-6 in the first quarter. The Yellow Jackets showcased some stifling defense as they caused Haverford to cough up 10 turnovers in the frame. The momentum rode entirely with BW as it generated two isolated runs of 9-2 to start the game, and a quick 13 straight points in a 1:40 span in the latter portion of the quarter.

The Yellow Jackets' tremendous defense carried over into the second period, as they held the Fords scoreless in the frame's first 5:30 and a 20 percent shooting percentage for the entire quarter. Meanwhile, BW had no difficulty getting the ball through the cylinder as it used a 12-2 run from the period's inception to take a commanding 26-point lead with 1:41 remaining before the break. However, the Yellow Jacket's tenacity on defense remained the difference as they limited Haverford to a season-low 12 points in the entire first half.

BW continued its succession of scoring runs as it embarked on a 11-3 run to kick off the second half. Roughly midway through the third quarter, the Lords began to exchange baskets with their adversaries but the Yellow Jackets proved to be too much to handle as the deficit grew to a colossal peak of 32 points heading into the final quarter of regulation. Haverford's shooting struggles also continued as it only shot a mere 18.2 percent from the field in the third.

The fourth quarter marked the strongest outing for the Fords as they were able to string together several defensive stops and consecutive baskets but the game has already slipped far out of their reach. BW was able to cruise through the fourth quarter, wind down the clock to zero in front of an energetic crowd, and secure its berth to the next round.

The Yellow Jackets will return to the court tomorrow, Saturday, March 7 for the NCAA Tournament Second Round, when they host Chicago in Ursprung Gymnasium at 6:00 p.m.