Granville, Ohio - DePauw guard Emily Budde knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired and lifted the second-seed Tigers to a 59-58 win over third-seed Kenyon (18-9) in tonight's first North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal contest. The Tigers improved to 21-6 and face fourth-seed Allegheny in tomorrow's 4 p.m. championship game. The Gators knocked off top seed Denison, 67-66, in overtime.
Kenyon's Sidney Cera drove the lane to give the Ladies a 58-56 lead with just over eight seconds left before the Tigers called a timeout. After DePauw inbounded from in front of its bench, Maya Howard found Budde open five feet beyond the top of the key and the sophomore's shot swished through the net as the clock showed all zeroes.
Budde's heroics led the Tigers over a Kenyon team that shot 76 percent in the second half and hit 7-of-8 from the field in the fourth.
The Tigers trailed much of the opening quarter and were behind 18-15 at the quarter break. The Kenyon lead reached six at 23-17, but DePauw closed the period on a 15-0 run over the final seven minutes to grab a 32-23 halftime advantage.
Kenyon scored nine straight early in the third to even the contest at 34-34 before DePauw started to pull away for a 47-40 lead after three.
Maya Howard nailed a three and Budde a bucket to give DePauw its biggest lead of the game at 52-42 with 8:30 remaining. The margin was still seven before Cera knocked down a three with 5:38 remaining to cut the Tigers' lead to 54-50.
Maya Howard pushed the lead to 56-50 with a pair of free throws at the 4:35 mark, but DePauw couldn't score on its next two possessions with the latter ending in a shot clock violation. Kenyon's Bailey Dominguez nailed a three and a DePauw turnover led to a game-tying 3-pointer from Griffin Tullis with 1:47 remaining.
Neither team was able to convert on the offensive end until Cera's layup gave Kenyon the lead.
Maya Howard led DePauw with 22 points and she hit all nine free throw attempts. Budde followed with 16 and Keller led with eight rebounds.
Ifeoma Archimalo led Kenyon with 15 points and seven rebounds followed by Dominguez with 12 points.
Kenyon shot 52.3 percent from the floor and knocked down 6-of-15 from beyond the arc, while DePauw shot 38 percent and hit 7-of-14 3-pointers. Kenyon held a 29-28 rebounding edge, but the Tigers led in second-chance points, 11-6.
NOTES: DePauw is now 12-1 in NCAC Tournament games and 4-1 in semifinal contests ... the Tigers are appearing in the fourth NCAC title game in five years and first since 2014 ... DePauw is 20-0 this year when leading at halftime and 483-18 in Kris Huffman's 23 seasons.