After knocking off Hendrix 80-71, the Lady Tigers have moved back into the Top 25 in the D3hoops.com poll at No. 23 and No. 24 in the USA Today ESPN Division III top 25 coaches poll. It couldn't come a better time as DePauw takes on Trinity University Friday night at 6 p.m. in the Lilly Center and then takes on Southwestern Sunday at 1 p.m.
Along with their new rankings, the Lady Tigers will be putting on the line their 12-game win streak and their 7-1 Southern Colligate Athletic Conference record. Their only conference loss came from ninth-ranked Oglethorpe, a team that Trinity just knocked off Sunday 85-72, earlier this month.
Right now DePauw, Trinity, and Oglethorpe are in a three-way tie for the best record in the SCAC. Trinity leads the west division with 7-1 conference record and a 13-4 overall record, while Oglethorpe leads the east division with 16-2 overall record with DePauw right behind them with a 15-3 overall record with both of them boasting a 7-1 SCAC record.
Leading the Lady Tigers into action this weekend will be Cassie Pruzin (pictured), who is averaging 10.8 points per game and shooting .309 from the floor while averaging 33.6 minutes each contest. As a team, the Lady Tigers are averaging 72.8 points per game.
But any coach will tell you that it takes more than a good offense win games. You also need a solid defense and that is something that DePauw has as well.
The Lady Tigers have been holding their opponents to an average of 58 points per game, thanks to the help of Emily Marshall, Andrea Travelstead and Pruzin. When Pruzin isn't stealing the ball from her opponents, and, yes, she does it a lot, considering she has 33 already for the season, Marshall and Travelstead are taking down rebounds like tornadoes tear down houses in tornado alley. Marshall has already ripped down 135, for season averaging 7.5 per game and Travelstead is right behind her with a 100 for the season for a 5.6 game average.
And DePauw's defense will be put to the test Friday night against Trinity.
Trinity has three players that are averaging double digit scoring, led by the six-foot-one-inch forward Krista Prato Matthews who averages 17.4 points per game. Trinity's other two high scorers are averaging 14.4 and 13.5 points per game allowing Trinity to average 77.5 points per game and their defense is just as solid as their offense.
Trinity's defense has held its opponents to an average of 67.9 points per game thanks to the rebounding ability of Prato Matthews who has tear down a total of 239 rebounds already for the season for a an average of 14 boards per game with her single game high being 39. She also has 32 blocks for the season. Her teammate Danielle Hubenak leads the team with 31 steals while Prato Matthews and Abby Dietert have 26 steals this season as well. As a team, Trinity is averaging 8.8 steals a game this season.
So Friday's contest against Trinity will surely be a testament of the DePauw's abilities in the SCAC and after they play Trinity Friday they get to host Southwestern on Sunday, which should be an easier game since Southwestern is 1-7 in the SCAC and 5-13 overall.
The two Pirates that the Lady Tigers will have to contend with offensively with is Natasha Azizi who averages 16.7 points per game and Staley Mullins, who is putting up around 10 points a game. If the Lady Tigers can contain those two shooters then they will be able to neutralize the Pirates offense as they have no other major scorers.
Now defensively, the Pirates seem to pose more of a threat as they have several players that can snatch the ball right out of your hands with out you knowing. Southwestern has four players that are averaging around two steals per game and are averaging just over 10 steals as a team per contest. They also have some rebounding power in Azizi and Mullins who are averaging just under seven boards each.
Friday's game is scheduled for 8 p.m. while Sunday's game is slated for 1 p.m.