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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Tigers capture NCAC, move on to NCAA tourney

Monday, February 27, 2012

(Photo)
The DePauw women's basketball team won the NCAC tournament over the weekend over Denison 61-41 and will now move on the the NCAA Division III tournament. The draw for the tournament will be today at 2:30 p.m. Members of the Tigers include Kate Walker, Ali Ross, Ellie Pearson, Kathleen Malloy, Katie Aldrich, Alex Gasaway, Savannah Trees, Emma Ondik, Alyssa Conway, Ali Walker, Kathryn Denbow, Chelsea Francis, Lauren Abendroth, Hannah Lukemeyer, Alison Stephens, Erin McGinnis, Ann Sarkisian, Cassandra Brocksmith, head coach Kris Huffman, assistant coaches Mary Smith, Dana Ferguson and Doug Miller.
DePauw's women's basketball squad, in its first season of NCAC participation, capped off an impressive debut season in style.

The Tigers went undefeated in league play and finished off the regular season in style with a 61-41 win over Denison to capture their first NCAC tournament title.

With the win, DePauw seals a place in the NCAA tournament, though the beginning of the game against the Big Red was far from what most fans wanted to see at Neal Fieldhouse.

Denison continued its stellar three-point shooting right from the start of the game as the Big Red jumped out quickly to a 10-5 lead in the opening minutes.

Often DePauw was forced to go deep into the shot clock before getting away attempts, stalling the Tiger offense for a sizable chunk of the half.

DePauw took its first lead of the contest on a Katie Aldrich lay-up. The two teams then traded off five three-pointers, with the Tigers holding a five-point lead after the barrage.

The defense further stiffened, not allowing a Denison point after a Serafina Nuzzo jumper at the 7:28 mark.

The hosts steadily increased their lead up to 28-18, having scored the final seven points to close out the first half.

DePauw stretched the lead to 16 in the opening two minutes of the second half. Denison began to slowly chip away at the lead, bringing it down to nine with 12:40 to play.

The hosts, who attacked the basket more aggressively in the second half, were rewarded with 21 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 18.

Denison, in comparison, only made one visit to the charity stripe and missed both shots.

The Tigers stretched lead back to 17 within three minutes and held the lead between 13 and 20 points over the final nine minutes of play.

As with the first half, DePauw kept Denison in check offensively late, allowing only six points in the final seven minutes to officially punch its NCAA tournament tickets.

Katie Aldrich recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers.

Afterward, DePauw head coach Kris Huffman said the defensive end of play was the foundation of the game plan.

"Defense is where we want to start things and get our offense and confidence from there. Defense and rebounding are critical to what we want to do," Huffman said.

"I'm really proud of the effort today. It's not easy to play a conference tournament at home and to take great efforts from Denison, Kenyon and Oberlin, I'm really proud of this team."

In its first season of NCAC play, DePauw established itself quickly with an undefeated conference record through the tournament, a goal that Huffman said the squad had.

"It was one of our goals, but it was a pretty lofty goal. I have a lot of respect for the teams in this conference. I think it's very strong in women's basketball," Huffman said.

"But I liked how our team stayed focused throughout the winter months and throughout this tournament run."

The Tigers will have to wait until this afternoon to learn where they will play in the NCAA Division III tournament and whether DePauw may be a host site.

For Huffman and the Tigers, the late season push from the rest of the NCAC schools was helpful as they prepare for the tournament

"We could see some of the best teams in the nation in the first round, which happens a little bit in this region. It's very strong in basketball," Huffman said.

"I like how we were pushed of late. We had two starting guards in foul trouble and our young players had to step up.

"I like that we had to work through those tough situations. I like that our seniors stepped up and were leaders for us," Huffman added.

"We'll have to wait and see. We'll go back to work and get better, because there is still time to get better" Huffman added.

At Neal Fieldhouse

DePauw University

Denison 18 23 -- 41

DePauw 28 33 -- 61

Team Stats

Rebounding -- Denison 30 (16 offense); DePauw 36 (11 offense)

Assists -- Denison 10; DePauw 9

Turnovers -- Denison 12; DePauw 16

Blocks -- Denison 1; DePauw 3

Steals -- Denison 5; DePauw 7

Shooting -- Denison 17-58 FG, 7-19 3-FG, 0-2 FT; DePauw -- 17-40 FG, 6-10 3-FG, 21-25 FT

Individual Scoring

DePauw -- Aldrich 12, Ross 10, Walker 7, Molloy 7, Ondik 7, Trees 7 Pearson 5, Gasaway 4, Denbow 2