After trailing by six with five minutes left, the Tigers went on a 10-2 run which started and ended with three-pointers by Cassie Pruzin to give DePauw an 80-78 lead with 2:38 remaining.
Lindsey Buechner's layup with 1:40 remaining tied the score at 80-80. The Tigers couldn't convert on the other end before Kelsey Hendrickson missed a layup with 53 seconds left.
In the battle for the rebound, DePauw's Jenna Fernandez appeared to have grabbed the board and when Bueuchner stripped the ball from her she was initially ruled as having stepped out-of-bounds. After an official's conference, the Warhawks were granted a timeout and possession of the ball.
Dana Thompson went to the line with 31.6 seconds left and hit the first of two free throws and DePauw snagged the miss of the second shot. Pruzin drove the key, but Trisha Thill stole the ball and was quickly fouled. She hit two free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining to push the Whitewater lead to 83-80.
Pruzin had a good look at a potential game-tying three with less than five seconds left, but it was just off the mark. The fight for the rebound resulted in a held ball situation, but the possession arrow favored Whitewater with just 2.2 seconds left. DePauw immediately fouled Buechner who missed both free throws, but a long rebound prevented the Tigers from having any chance of firing a desperation shot.
"This was a tough one," DePauw head coach Kris Huffman said. "We lost to a great team, but we were just hoping that the scoreboard would read a little differently and we would be moving on to next week."
The contest featured 13 ties and eight lead changes in a game, which started at a frenetic pace. DePauw built a 20-16 lead after Pruzin knocked down a three with 14:36 left in the half.
That lead reached as many as seven on four occasions with the last coming at 41-34 after Sarah Merkel's two free throws with 3:18 remaining.
Hendrickson hit a three before Nicole Bundy made two free throws and a trey and Buechner followed with a layup to give the Warhawks a 44-41 lead with just over a minute remaining. Whitewater led at the break, 46-44.
After DePauw had regained the lead, the Warhawks rattled off nine straight to take a 61-55 advantage with 11:43 left. Back-to-back threes by Gretchen Haehl and Pruzin once again knotted the score.
The Warhawks took a six-point lead when Heidi Sonntag buried a three with 5:11 left, but Pruzin hit a three and Fernandez and Marshall scored on putbacks to give the Tigers a 77-76 lead with 3:25 left.
Emily Marshall picked up her fifth foul with 3:05 left and Dana Thompson hit both free throws to give the hosts a 78-77 lead. Pruzin's three with 1:58 remaining were DePauw's final points of the game.
Pruzin led all scorers with 23 and hit seven three-pointers which was just one shy of tying the single-game school record. Fernandez added 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Haehl added 16 points and five assists. With her three-pointer with 16:50 left in the game, Haehl became the 10th player in school history to top the 1,000-point plateau.
Hendrickson and Tiffany Morton each finished with 15 points, while Buechner added 14 points and 10 boards and Sonntag totaled 12 points. Thill had six assists to lead the Warhawks.
Whitewater shot 59.6 percent from the field, while DePauw hit 49.2 percent from the floor. The Warhawks held a 32-27 edge on the boards and were the first team to out-rebound DePauw in the last 16 contests.
DePauw seniors Adedrea Chaney, Gretchen and Gwen Haehl and Kalei Lowes finished their careers as the winningest class in school history with a four-year record of 111-15, three national quarterfinal appearances and one national title.