Tiger women win NCAC title, secure tourney's top seed
With its 85-43 win over Hiram Saturday, DePauw women's basketball not only extended its win streak to 19 straight but it wrapped up the North Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball title in its first season of competition in the league.
The Tigers, ranked fifth in the latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll and sixth by D3hoops.com, improved to 20-1 overall and 13-0 in the NCAC. Hiram dropped to 7-14 overall and 4-9 in the conference. DePauw also secured the top seed in the eight-team NCAC Tournament which begins later this month with the winner earning the conference's automatic qualification into the NCAA Championship.
DePauw led 23-15 in the opening half before Katie Aldrich hit a pair of buckets and Ali Ross added two layups to push the lead to 31-15 with 4:21 left in the half on the way to a 39-22 lead at the break.
The Tigers used a 13-3 run in the second half to extend the margin to 60-31 with 11:28 left. Later DePauw put together a 19-2 stretch and led by as many as 42.
Aldrich led the Tigers with 20 points and hit 8-of-10 field goals, while Ross added 18 and hit four threes. Savannah Trees finished with 10 points in the win. Ellie Pearson grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and led the Tigers with six assists and four steals.
Chelsea Kovach paced Hiram with nine points and three different Terriers grabbed three rebounds each. Kelsey Durichko dished out four assists.
DePauw shot 52.5 percent for the game and outrebounded Hiram, 37-22. The Tigers converted 19 offensive rebounds into a 23-4 advantage in second-chance points. Hiram shot just 31.1 percent for the game.
The win was also DePauw's 70th straight home conference win including 63 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 20-win season is the Tigers' 11th straight and 15th in the last 16 years.
The conference title is DePauw's third straight and 13th in Kris Huffman's 19 seasons in Greencastle. The championship is also DePauw's first outright NCAC Championship and second overall after the Tigers' field hockey team shared the conference championship in the fall.
DePauw returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 11, when it travels to Oberlin.