DePauw women win, clinch NCAC title

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Paced by guard Maya Howard and a successful defensive adjustment in the second half, the DePauw University Tigers closed the North Coast Athletic Conference Saturday afternoon with a 16-0 record, defeating Oberlin College 66-56 at Neal Fieldhouse on Senior Day.

As the regular-season champion over second-place Oberlin, the seventh-ranked Tigers (24-1) will now host Allegheny College at 6 p.m. today in the opening round of the NCAC Tournament.

“That’s a tough team to play against with their size and even their size in the guard court makes it difficult to play against. It was a grind,” DePauw coach Kris Huffman said.

DePauw’s Howard, a 5-7 junior, scored 17 of her game-high 24 points in the second half. The Tigers also got 13 points and eight rebounds from sophomore Sydney Kopp.

“(Maya’s) been pretty darn solid this year. It was a great game for Maya. She wanted the ball in her hands,” Huffman said.

The lead changed hands six times before Howard converted a steal by forward Melinda Franke into a basket and 25-24 DePauw lead. Baskets by Oberlin’s twin towers of 6-foot-4 Olivia Canning and 6-2 Jasmine Sorrells tied the contest at 27-27 before DePauw’s Claire Keefe scored to put the Tigers up 29-27 at halftime.

As usual through Huffman’s 25 years at DePauw, it was the Tigers’ defensive effort the second half that stopped the Yeowomen’s inside game and sparked a 20-8 run that broke the contest open. DePauw then hit 10-of-12 free throws to hold off Oberlin’s late efforts.

Oberlin continued to pound the ball inside to the 6-4 Canning, the 6-2 Sorrells and 6-0 forward Abby Andrews. Canning finished with 18 points Andrews 10 and Sorrells eight.

“(Canning) really hurt us today and we don’t have much size to counter their size. And (the Yeowomen) got such deep position (under the basket). So we started to bring a little bit of a double team,” Huffman said.

Canning gave Oberlin its final lead of the day at 44-42 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. That’s where DePauw’s game-winning run started.

From the 46-second mark of the third period to the closing minute of the fourth, DePauw outscored Oberlin 20-8. The Tigers converted on 10-of-12 free throws in that run.

Howard scored DePauw’s last seven points of the third period, hitting two free throws, a three-pointer and a deuce that put the Tigers on top 47-44 going into the fourth period.

Baskets by Keefe and Budde extended DePauw’s lead to 51-44 in the opening minutes of the last period and the free throw parade started with 4:28 to play as the Tigers’ lead hit double figures.

DePauw’s reward for winning the regular season is a home game on Tuesday.

OBERLIN (56) — Driscoll 2-9 0-0 4, Andrews 5-9 0-0 10, Stipano 3-16 2-2 8, Parlor 4-7 0-0 8, Canning 6-10 6-8 18, Gross 0-0 0-0 0, Arthur 0-0 0-0 0, Sorrells 4-4 0-0 8. Totals 24-55 FG, 8-10 FT, 56 TP.

DEPAUW (66) — Keefer 3-9 0-0 6, Franke 2-4 2-2 7, Howard 8-16 5-6 24, Kopp 4-8 4-6 13, Budde 4-9 2-2 10, Kehrt 0-1 0-0 0, Cange 0-1 0-0 0, Morris 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 24-52 FG, 13-16 FT, 66 TP.

Oberlin 16 11 17 12 — 56

DePauw 12 17 18 19 — 66

3Pt. FG: OC 0-9, DPU 5-15 (Howard 3-5, Kopp 1-2, Franke 1-3, Keefer 0-1, Kehrt 0-1, Budde 0-3). Total fouls: OC 16, DPU 14. Fouled out: Andrews. Technical fouls: None. Turnovers: OC 10, DPU 9. Rebounds: OC 30 (Parlor 7), DPU 29 (Kopp 8, Keefer 6). Assists: OC 12 (Driscoll 4), DPU 9 (Howard 5). Steals: OC 5 (Driscoll 2), DPU 3 (Hoard, Kehrt, Morris). Blocked Shots: OC 2 (Canning, Sorrells), DPU 1 (Franke).

Next game: DePauw will host Allegheny College in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament today.

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