Denison tops defending national champions in NCAA first round


March 2, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - Denison's women never trailed and led by as many as 27 on the way to an 82-66 NCAA Division III first round win over defending national champion Hope. Denison advanced to the second round and improved to 25-4, while the Flying Dutch finished their season at 24-4.

The Big Red used a 13-2 run to take a 21-9 lead midway through the first half. The Flying Dutch closed to nine at 23-14 before Denison closed the half with a 17-4 run over the final 6:16 to take a 40-18 halftime lead.

That margin reached as many as 27 at 50-23 on Amber Hill's layup with 14:51 left, but Hope scored the nex 14 to close the gap to 13 at 50-37. Hope eventually closed to within 10 at 58-48, but got no closer.

Caitlin Krupka paced Denison with 19 and nailed 5-of-8 three-pointers. Kristen Sheffield followed with 12 points and six rebounds, while Ellen O'Brien added 11 and Tammy Hoch followed with 10. Saraj Jurik led Hope with 11 and Philana Greene added 10 along with seven rebounds. Emily O'Hare also added seven boards in the loss.

“I think we had hung our hat on defense all year long and had really gotten them to key in on the defensive effort and that makes our offense better," Denison head coach Sara Lee said.

"We did some things out there that made them lose their momentum and that got us going so we got a nice lead going into the first half.”

The Big Red shot 49 percent for the game including 52.4 percent in the second half, while holding Hope to just 38.7 percent and only 22.2 percent in the first half.

"Denison played a whale of a game tonight," Hope head coach Brian Morehouse said.

"Obviously number 30 (Krupka) got hot early and made some shots. They only turned it over four times in the first half and we were not as aggressive as we should have been or could have been."

Denison advances to the second round where they face DePauw. The Tigers defeated Transylvania, 74-54, in the evening's second game.