COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's basketball team hung with a stout Haverford squad from tip to finish, but the visiting Fords managed to keep the Bears at arm's length and hang on for a 64-59 Centennial Conference victory on Wednesday night.
Aliyah Stephens scored 15 of her team-high 20 points in a high-octane first quarter for Ursinus (6-12, 5-8), which was within just two in the fourth quarter before Haverford staved off the home side.
Stephens came out scorching hot, driving the lane for a lay-up before rattling home a left-wing 3 on the next possession. The junior then added another basket before converting a three-point play with a strong dribble drive down the right side of the paint. By the time the game was three minutes old, Stephens had already reached double figures.
While Stephens looked unstoppable, the Fords were having their own success on the offensive end and took their first lead of the night as Anna-Sophia Capizzi splashed a pair of NBA-range 3-pointers to make it 16-10 about midway through the first period.
The Bears responded with a 7-0 run before Capizzi swished another long-range triple to put Haverford on top 19-17 at the end of the first quarter. Stephens added two more buckets in the frame and finished the opening stanza with 15 points.
Capizzi hit on another 3-pointer to open up a 26-19 advantage, but Gabby Downs was dead-on from straight away with an immediate response. Capizzi, the league's leading scorer, continued to hold sway and rolled in a runner to lift Haverford to a 35-26 lead at the break.
The Bears opened the third quarter on a run, getting within 38-35 when Downs hit a 3-pointer with 6:31 on the clock to force a Haverford timeout.
Downs made another from the same spot to get within two, and a pair of Stephens free throws made it 44-42 late in the frame. It was just a four-point spread before Julianna Clark banked in a runner at the third-quarter buzzer, and Capizzi's twisting drive made it 52-44 early in the fourth.
Ursinus had another run in it, coming within 54-52 after Stephens found Lydia Konstanzer underneath for a lay-in and Alyssa Martin swished a 3-pointer from the left wing, leading to another Haverford timeout with 4:21 remaining.
Out of the stoppage, Clark knifed her way through the paint and got a short jumper to go off the glass to regain a four-point lead. Stephens misfired on a pair of free throws and Konstanzer missed a close-range attempt before Cortlyn Morris got the rebound and was fouled, knocking down both at the stripe to extend the margin to six at 58-52 with just under three minutes to play.
Morris got free inside for a basket and an eight-point lead, but Downs kept the Bears alive with her fourth 3 of the night to make it 60-55. Ursinus got a stop on the defensive end, but Marisa Morano's 3-pointer from the wing was no good and the Fords closed it out at the line.
Capizzi finished with a game-high 22 points to lead Haverford, while Clark supplied 16 and Morris landed in double figures with 11. Capizzi and Clark combined to make seven 3-pointers.
Downs had her best game of the new year with 14 points, connecting on four treys and adding a last-second jumper to hit double figures for the third time this season and first since scoring 10 against Widener on December 18. Konstanzer finished with 12 to go with a career-high 19 rebounds for her third straight double-double and her fifth in the last six games
The Bears remain at home to take on Bryn Mawr on Saturday.