Greencastle, Ind. - Fourth-ranked and top-seed DePauw trailed Kenyon, 20-18 with over nine minutes left in the first half, but the Tigers closed the period with a 22-4 run and were never threatened in the second half on the way to an 88-60 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal victory over visiting Kenyon.
DePauw improved to 26-1 with the win and advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. title game with Denison (21-6) after the third-seed Big Red topped Ohio Wesleyan, 67-57. Kenyon's season comes to an end with a 16-10 record.
The Ladies took a quick 8-3 lead as they hit their first three shots. Kenyon still led by five at 12-7 before the Tigers scored five straight to even the score.
The tight battle continued with Kenyon holding a narrow 20-18 advantage after Meredith Wiliams' layup with 9:30 left in the half. DePauw, however, scored 11 straight capped by Savannah Trees' layup with 5:24 remaining.
Williams stopped the run, but Trees hit a three and a bucket before Alex Gasaway and Alison Stephens each knocked in jumpers to make it 38-22 at the 1:44 mark. DePauw took a 40-24 lead into the locker room.
Kenyon hit the opening bucket of the second half to close the gap to 14, but that was as close as it got the rest of the evening.
Trees led DePauw with 23, while Gasaway followed with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Ali Ross added 12 and became the 15th player in DePauw women's history to reach 1,000 points on her first basket of the second half. Emma Ondik rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11.
Alison Stephens grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds as the Tigers held a 46-20 edge on the boards and snagged 20 on the offensive glass for a 24-5 advantage in second-chance points. Hannah Douglas and Erin McGinnis each dished out four assists and DePauw totaled just four turnovers.
Maureen Hirt paced Kenyon with 20 points, all in the second half, and Maggie Boelter added 15 and a game-high five assists.
DePauw shot 48.4 percent for the game, while the Ladies hit 40.4 percent including 10-22 from three-point range.
In the evening's first semifinal game, Denison scored the first 12 points of the second half to break free from a 25-25 tie at the intermission. The Big Red stretched the lead to as many as 14 points and the Battling Bishops got no closer than seven.
Gretchen Staubach paced Denison with 19 points, while Jordan Holmes followed with a double-double of 14 points and 23 rebounds to go along with seven blocks. Candise Love added 10 points.
Kristin Henning led Ohio Wesleyan with 15 points with LaNiece McRae following with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Denison shot 48.1 percent from the floor to Ohio Wesleyan's 34.3 percent and the Big Red outscored the Bishops from the line, 16-9.