By KEITH BODNARICK
For the Banner Graphic
The nationally-ranked DePauw women's basketball team looked like anything but defending NCAA champions in a sloppy victory over visting Augustana Wednesday evening. The Tigers moved to 5-1 on the season with a 58-41 win, a margin that was particularly deceiving.
"I was disappointed in our play tonight," stated head coach Kris Huffman. "I don't know if we didn't come to play, or were looking ahead to finals, but I was disappointed in our mental toughness."
The ballgame began well for the Tigers, who jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening four minutes of play. Jenna Fernandez netted all eight points in the post, and finished with a game-high total of 32. "We've been trying to work the ball inside more the last couple of games, and I think we did a pretty good job of that," said Huffman. "I'm glad Jenna decided to show up tonight."
Despite the quick start for DPU, the Vikings of Augustana hung with the Tigers for the remainder of the opening twenty minutes. DePauw seemed out of offensive rhythm at times, and Augustana cut the Tiger lead to six, 27-21, with a bucket by at the half's conclusion.
Indiana legend Bobby Knight always focuses on the opening three minutes of the second half as a contributing factor to a game's outcome, and DPU secured what would be an eventual triumph by opening the second half on a 6-2 run. The Vikings had a run of their own in them, however, which began at the ten-minute mark in the closing stanza. Augustana ripped off ten consecutive points, to close within five, 43-38, with 5:29 to play.
Depauw dominated the contest's final five minutes, with Fernandez accumulating 13 of her point total in that time frame, to provide the final 17 point margin.
Hufffman acknowledged that, "A win's a win," at the game's conclusion. "We'll take it."
Augustana 21 20 -- 41
DePauw 27 31 -- 58