DPU women knock off Washington, 55-52, to claim school's first national team title

Monday, March 19, 2007
DePauw University players celebrate following a 55-52 win over Washington in the championship round of the NCAA Division III Women's Tournament Saturday.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- For the first time in school history, DePauw University can hang a national championship team banner.

On Saturday, the DPU women's basketball team made that possible after knocking off Washington in the finals of the NCAA Division III Championships, 55-52, at the Blake Arena on the Springfield College campus to claim the school's first national team title.

DePauw's season concluded with a record of 31-3.

The Tigers led most of the first half and took a 24-20 lead into halftime.

The Tigers then held the Bears scoreless during the first 6:24 of the second half to extend its lead to 32-20. After the Bears' Sarah Schell hit a jumper to pull Washington within 10, Gretchen Haehl nailed a three-pointer and Liz Bondi knocked down a jumper, giving DPU its largetst lead of the contest at 15, 37-22, with 12:06 remaining.

Washington wouldn't give up as Rebecca Parker scored on a putback while Halsey Ward nailed a three and Jaimie McFarlin hit two free throws to close the margin to eight, 37-29, with 10:48 left.

Kalei Lowes responded with a three and Emily Marshall added a layup to push DPU back up by 13, 42-29, with 9:17 to go but during the next four minutes, Ward hit back-to-back threes before McFarlin hit consecutive jumpers and Parker added a layup to pull the Bears within one, 42-41.

Lowes and Ward exchanged back-to-back threes before Cassie Pruzin's three-pointer with 3:44 left gave DePauw a 48-44 lead.

Suzy Doughty's drive with just more than three minutes left gave DPU a 50-44 advantage, cut Schell and Ward added buckets to trim the gap to two with two minutes left.

Doughty's two free throws with 1:58 left gave the Tigers a four-point lead, but Jenny Southworth's putback with 58.7 tickes remaining pulled Washington within two, 52-50.

Pruzin hit a pair of free throws with 36 seconds to go before Schell scored on a drive with 21.6 seconds left.

Pruzin then extended the Tigers' lead to three, 55-52, after hitting the second of two free throws. The Bears had a chance to tie the contest, but Ward's three-pointer was short, starting the celebration for DePauw.

Pruzin led the Tigers with 12 points while Bondi, Doughty and Lowes each had nine. Bondi added a team-high nine rebounds while Doughty finished with three assists and two steals.

Bondi was named the Most Valuable Player of the tourney while Doughty was also named to the All-Tournament team.

Ward led the Bears with 16 points while McFarlin added 12 and a game-high 11 rebounds. Parker also hauled down 10 boards for the Bears, which finished the season at 25-6.

DePauw shot 35 percent from the floor while the Bears shot 38.9 percent. The Bears also outrebounded the Tigers, 44-34, but the Tigers committed just nine turnovers to Washington's 16 and had a 21-11 advantaged in scoring off turnovers.

The Tigers finished the 2006-07 campaign with an 11-game winning streak.

Along with Bondi and Doughty, Bridget Bailey, Kristy Mahon and Caitlin McGonigal all played their final game for the Tigers.

At Springfield, Mass.

DePauw 24 31 -- 55

Washington 20 32 -- 52

DePauw -- Bondi 4-13 1-2 9, Marshall 4-5 0-2 8, Doughty 3-4 3-4 9, Pruzin 4-15 3-4 12, Lowes 3-7 0-0 9, McGonigal 0-6 0-0 0, Gr. Haehl 3-6 0-0 8, Gw. Haehl 0-1 0-0 0, Fernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Bailey 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-60 FG, 7-12 FT, 55 TP.

Washington -- McFarlin 5-8 2-2 12, Parker 4-13 1-4 9, Schell 3-12 1-2 7, Brandt 0-1 0-0 0, Southworth 2-2 0-0 4, Huels 0-0 1-2 1, Lane-Steele 0-4 0-0 0, Unruh 0-1 0-0 0, Ward 6-10 0-1 16, Evans 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 21-54 FG, 6-13 FT, 52 TP.

3-pt. FG -- DPU 6-25 (Lowes 3-5), W 4-8 (Ward 4-6). Rebounds -- DPU 34 (Bondi 9), W 44 (McFarlin 11). Blocks -- DPU 3 (Bondi, Doughty, Gw. Haehl), W 3 (McFarlin 2). Assists -- DPU 14 (Doughty, Bondi, Lowes 3), W 13 (Ward, Southworth 4). Steals -- DPU 9 (Bondi, Doughty 2), W 2 (Southworth, Evans). Total Fouls -- DPU 16, W 16. Fouled Out -- None. Turnovers -- DPU 9, W 16.

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