Greencastle, Ind.- Alex Gasaway's 14 first-half points set the tone as the third-ranked DePauw women's basketball team came away with a 79-68 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (24-4) in an NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship First Round game at the Neal Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the Tigers improved to 28-1 and advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. second-round game against Transylvania. Transylvania defeated Ohio Northern, 79-71, in the evening's first game.
Throughout a tight first half, DePauw knocked in six three-pointer including one stretch where 12 straight points came from beyond the arc. DePauw eventually stretched the lead to seven and held a 34-29 advantage at the break.
Early in the second half the Tigers led 38-33 before Ali Ross hit a three and Lauren Abendroth followed with a layup and Emma Ondik a jumper to give DePauw a 12-point edge. The Athenas' Madeline Barnes countered with a bucket, but Abendroth nailed a three and Savanah Trees added a layup to make it 50-35 with 11:30 left.
Claremont's Chloe Dobbert scored on a layup before Erin McGinnis scored on layin and Ondik delivered a three to make it 55-37 at the 9:16 mark.
The lead reached as many as 19 before the Athenas continued to apply full-court pressure and forced DePauw into turnovers while outscoring the Tigers, 16-8, over the final 2:29.
The Tigers went 10-of-19 from three point land, while holding the Athenas to just a 6-of-18 mark. Gasaway led all scorers and matched a season-high with 20 points adding a game-high eight rebounds. Ali Ross added 15 points on a 5-for-7 shooting performance, while Abendroth added ten for the Tigers. Trees established career highs with seven rebounds and seven assists, while scoring 11 points in the victory.
Madeline Barnes and Kris Brackmann led the Athenas with 19 points each. Scamman added 14 points, while Mara Falahee grabbed seven boards in the loss.
DePauw held a 31-23 rebounding edge including a 12-10 margin on the offensive glass. The Tigers had 18 assists on their 26 field goals.
The win was the Tigers' seventh straight in NCAA tournament play and expanded their all-time mark to 27-12.