For a brief moment, DePauw's women's basketball squad looked as though they might be in for a game against Wooster Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 5-1 four minutes into the game, a lid fell on the Wooster basket as the No. 7-ranked Tigers outscored the Fighting Scots 32-2 for the rest of the first half en route to cruising past the visitors 71-36.
The Scots managed only two baskets in the first half off of 15 shots. DePauw also struggled from the field but got nearly twice as many looks and hit nine of twelve free throws to break the game open after the early deficit.
After being held for nearly 13 minutes without a basket, Wooster scored the opening points of the second half but couldn't keep pace with the hosts.
DePauw held as high as a 44-point lead over the Scots and by games' end had used 17 different players, getting scores from 13 participants while forcing 29 Scot turnovers and outrebounding the visitors by 10.
Kate Walker and Lauren Abendroth lead the Tigers in scoring with 12 points apiece, while Ali Ross added 10 points and 3 steals, while Alex Gassaway added 8 points and lead the squad with 9 rebounds, 5 on the offensive glass.
While keeping the top spot in the NCAC wasn't in doubt after the first half, DePauw head coach Kris Huffman said that the performance could have been better from the home side.
"We have to be prepared every game. Wooster just played Denison and Kenyon very tough, who are two of the best teams in the conference, so we wanted to be ready to play today," Huffman said.
"We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I thought we defended fairly well. We could have been a little bit better on the glass"
"We could have been sharper today. We didn't shoot ball as well as we have been shooting it as of late," Huffman added.
Even with the staggering lead, Huffman said the key to the squad is not easing up in situations like Saturday's game.
"We approach things very simply: Can we get better today? Game day is really to see if we've gotten better at practice," Huffman said.
"We've been trying to work on our consistency and our focus, to see if we can play every possession as hard as we can, and we still need to grow in that area."
"But we still have a lot of players we're putting on the floor and a lot of young players who've grown tremendously. I like our progress."
"We're always pushing to be better. I might drive my team nuts sometimes. In the little time we're playing a possession, we're looking for where we're positioned, did we box out, etc.," Huffman added.
"It's more than the scoreboard. Because of our level of play, I thought that we were able to get the margin of victory."
"I do like how hard our team works. I like how we're growing, being focused on our attention to details but we've got great strides we still need to make," Huffman said.
DePauw travels to Ohio Wednesday to face Denison in the first NCAC rematch of the year. Huffman said that being ready to go is key to the Tigers' success.
"It will be a tough came and we're still getting used to the Wednesday to Saturday conference schedule and the travel. We've so much to learn and we've had one look at Denison," Huffman said.
"They're very good. They knocked off Kenyon. I don't think we saw their best game when they were on campus in early December, so there's no doubt that they'll be gunning for us."
"We need to make sure we're ready to play."
At Lilly Center
Wooster 7 29 -- 36
DePauw 33 38 -- 71
Shooting -- Wooster 10-34 FG, 4-13 3-FG, 12-17 FT; DePauw 25-65 FG, 6-27 3-FG, 15-22 FT
Rebounds -- Wooster 30 (8 offense); DePauw 40 (20 offense)
Assists -- Wooster 7; DePauw 11
Turnovers -- Wooster 29; DePauw 8
Blocks -- Wooster 1; DePauw 3
Steals -- Wooster 3; DePauw 11
Scoring (DePauw only)
K. Walker 12, Abendroth 12, Ross 10, Trees 9, Gasaway 8, Pearson 4, Aldrich 3, Molloy 3, Ondik 2, A. Walker 2, Denbow 2, Lukemeyer 2, Stephens 2
Next game -- DePauw travels to Denison University Wednesday.