DePauw's Season Ends in NCAA Sectional Finals
Greencastle, Ind. - Visiting Wisconsin-Whitewater opened the second half with a 14-2 run and pulled away from DePauw to advance to the NCAA Division III semifinals with an 88-71 victory.
The 13th-ranked Warhawks improved to 26-4, while third-ranked DePauw finished its season at 30-2.
For the second straight night DePauw fell behind 5-0 and 9-2 as Whitewater set the tone early. Katie Burton buried a three just 14 seconds into the contest and Mary Merg followed with a jumper.
The visitors still held a four-point advantage at 21-17 before Savannah Trees scored on a layup and Lauren Abendroth knocked down a three to give the Tigers a 22-21 lead with 5:45 left in the half. Ali Ross added two free throws for a three-point lead.
DePauw's lead was still three at 26-23 after Alex Gasaway hit a jumper with 4:38 remaining, but the Warhawks scored seven straight on a pair of Kristen Ruchti layups that sandwiched Mary Merg's three-point play. Whitewater took a 34-32 lead into the intermission.
The teams exchanged buckets to start the second half before the Warhawks scored 12 straight from four different players capped by Ruchti's three-point play and layup to makek it 48-34 with 16:40 left.
Every time DePauw closed the margin to 10, the Warhawks extended it. The Tigers were still within 10 at 65-55 at the 7:48 mark before Merg hit a three. Alison Stephens countered with a layup, but Amy Mandrell and Andrea Olsen each scored to push the margin to 15 with 6:13 remaining. The Tigers got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Alex Gasaway matched a season high with 20 points and added nine rebounds, while Trees finished with 18 points. Stephens snagged 11 rebounds and Ross dished out four assists.
Ruchti paced five Whitewater double-figure scorers with 24 points and nine rebounds whole Merg added 21 points and nine boards along with six assists. Kaitlyn Thill followed with 12 points and six assists with Olsen also scoring 12 and Mandrell finishing with 10.
Whitewater shot 49.2 percent from the floor including 53.3 percent in the second half, while DePauw connected on 41.1 percent from the floor. The Tigers made a season-low two three-pointers and the Warhawks nailed seven of 16. Whitewater also held a 38-34 edge on the boards.
DEPAUW NOTES: DePauw's five seniors (Alex Gasaway, Erin McGinnis, Ali Ross, Ann Sarkisian and Alison Stephens) finished their careers with a 116-8 record for a .935 winning percentage. The wins are a DePauw record and are second in Division III during that time, while the winning percentage is tops for any Division III senior class this year...tonight's loss snapped DePauw's 36-game home win streak...the Tigers finished with an 18-1 home record to match last year's record win total in the Neal Fieldhouse...Alex Gasaway finished her career ranked fifth in DePauw history with 1,248 career points and 684 rebounds and is the only Tiger with 1,200 points and 600 rebounds...Alison Stephens' 292 rebounds this year broke the DePauw single-season record of 285 by Emily Marshall in 2009-10...DePauw's 223 three-pointers made this season broke the previous record of 213 set last year...the Tigers are 29-13 in NCAA postseason games and the 29 wins rank in a tie for eighth in Division III history...Savannah Trees topped the 1,000-point plateau tonight and joined Gasaway and Ross who reached the level earlier this year.