Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
HAVERFORD, Pa. – Behind a balanced scoring attack that saw five different players reach double figures and its best shooting night of the season, the Swarthmore College women’s basketball team (7-8, 5-6) earned a convincing 71-57 victory at rival Haverford (12-4, 7-4 CC) on Wednesday night in Gooding Arena.
Freshman Elle Larsen led the Garnet effort with the best game of her young career, scoring a game-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Sophomore Katie Lytle added 16 points, senior Genny Pezzola scored 14 and juniors Madeline Ross and Eliza Polli each added 10.
Swarthmore finished the game shooting 51 percent from the field (25-of-49), easily its best performance of the season. Thanks to its prolific offensive performance, the Garnet led the game wire-to-wire, building a lead as large as 17 points in the second half to stun the Fords.
The crucial Centennial Conference win keeps the Garnet in the thick of the playoff race entering the second-half of the season and snaps the Fords’ seven-game winning streak.
Swarthmore has now won eight of its last nine against the rival Fords and four straight from Gooding Arena.
The Garnet got out of the starting gate quick in the first half, as Polli dropped a three-pointer only 18 seconds into play to open up the game. Swat drained three more from behind the arc over the next eight minutes of play, propelling the Garnet to an early 20-7 lead.
Ross was the driving force for the Garnet offense in the early parts of the first half, scoring 10 points off of two triples and two jumpers while also pulling down five rebounds.
Swarthmore held on to its 13-point lead only for a few minutes before Haverford began to chip away at the lead. The Fords managed to battle back to within five of the Garnet, but Larsen kept the surging Fords at bay, scoring 14 points and pulling down two rebounds over the final seven minutes of play in the first half, giving Swarthmore a 39-29 lead at half.
In the second half, it was Lytle that took over the scoring duties for the Garnet, as she netted 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including nine quick points over the first nine minutes of the second.
The Garnet took its largest lead of the game with 10 minutes remaining in the game, as back-to-back three pointers from Polli and Pezzola put Swat ahead 58-41.
As expected, the Fords made a late run to make it competitive. The Garnet appeared on the ropes with under four minutes to go when a three-pointer from the Fords’ Elizabeth Lynch capped a 7-0 run and make it a 63-57 game with 3:25 remaining.
With the game on the line, the resilient Garnet regrouped following a timeout and responded emphatically, shutting out the Fords over the game’s final 3:25 to end the contest on an 8-0 run.
Pezzola led the Garnet with nine rebounds, finishing one shy of her first career double-double. Polli dished out a career-high seven assists. As a team , the Garnet recorded a season-high 20 assists.
Swarthmore looks for its third straight Centennial win when it hosts Ursinus on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m.