The DePauw women's basketball team opens the NCAA Division III tournament tonight as it hosts the first and second rounds at the Neal Fieldhouse. The Tigers earned their bid by winning the NCAC tournament on their home court just a short week ago.
In its first year as a member of the NCAC, DePauw made its presence known in a big way. It cruised to a perfect 16-0 conference record, earned the conference title and picked up some major accomplishments along the way.
Senior Katie Aldrich was named the NCAC Player of the Year and head coach Kris Huffman was named the NCAC Coach of the Year. Also Ali Ross earned first team honors, with Kate Walker being named to the second team and Ellie Person earning honorable mention.
The Tigers are sporting an impressive 26-1 record on the season, with the only blemish coming against Franklin College in the second game of the season on the road.
Winning is nothing new for fourth-ranked DePauw, in fact since the 1995-96 season, DePauw has the third best winning percentage at .845 and the second most wins with 409 in Division III play. Huffman is the Tigers' all-time leader in wins with 431 and in winning percentage at .810.
Tonight's games are the first NCAA Championship games to be played in the Neal Fieldhouse since the 2008 season when DePauw won the first and second round games. In tournament play, DePauw is 10-2 at home in postseason games and has won six straight.
This also marks the ninth straight appearance for DPU in the NCAA Division III tournament and its 13th in 17 seasons. The nine straight appearances is currently the sixth longest streak in Division III. They won the Division III title in 2007, the only NCAA title in the program history.
DePauw will face Westminster in the second game of tonight's first round. It's the first time the two squads have met and the first time ever for the Blue Jays in the NCAA tournament.
The Blue Jays are sporting a 22-4 record and are riding a five-game winning streak.
In turn, DePauw is in the midst of a 24-game winning streak and has won 25 straight games on its home court.
In the other contest, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Carthage will face each other in the opening game. Wisconsin-Whitewater is ranked 19th in the nation in Division III.
The first game between Carthage and Wisconsin-Whitewater will tip off at 5 p.m., with DePauw and Westminster to follow at approximately 7 p.m. The second round game will be Saturday at 7 p.m. and will feature the winners of Friday's contests.
The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for seniors, students and children. The gates will open at 4 p.m. on Friday and at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be available at that time. It will be cash sales only for the event.
Fans are asked to use the north doors to the Lilly Center, with parking available in the Peeler Center parking lot.