Bloomington, Ill. - DePauw held a six-point lead over Trine with six minutes left in the third quarter of their NCAA Division III first-round game, but the Thunder closed the quarter with a 14-3 run and outscored the Tigers 22-12 in the fourth for a 65-50 win.
DePauw finished its season at 25-3, while Trine improved to 25-3 and faces host Illinois Wesleyan in tomorrow's second-round game.
The Thunder built an early 8-3 lead before the Tigers scored six straight on the way to a 14-12 advantage at the quarter break.
Trine cut DePauw's lead to 26-25 after Brandi Dawson's layup with 19 seconds left in the half, but Howard drained a three with four seconds remaining. She was fouled on the play, but missed the charity toss and the Tigers took a 29-25 lead into the intermission.
DePauw led by as many as six at 35-29 after Claire Keefe's layup with 6:22 remaining in the third. The Thunder quickly tied the game on three straight baskets from Dawson in a stretch of just over one minute.
Hayley Martin's jumper gave Trine the lead before Hayley Cange knotted the contest at 37-37. Dawson's jumper put Trine back in front before Kopp hit one of two free throws. Montana Martin's layup and Dawson's two free throws gave Trine a 43-38 edge as the game moved to the fourth period.
The teams traded buckets early in the fourth and DePauw was still within four after Keefe's 3-pointer with 6:31 left made it 47-43.
Trine, however, came right back as Dawson knocked in a jumper. Howard hit one of two free throws for the Tigers, but Montana Martin's 3-pointer with 5:23 left pushed the lead to eight.
The teams again traded baskets before Emily Budde cut the Trine lead to 54-48 with just under four minutes left.
Montana Martin buried a 3-pointer to push the lead to nine and the Tigers missed their final eight field goal attempts as Trine finished with an 11-2 run.
Kopp paced DePauw with 16 points and Howard added 13, but they were held to a combined six points in the second half.
Dawson paced Trine with 21 points and Hayley Martin added 18 followed by Montana Martin with 13.
Trine held a 32-26 edge on the boards as Hayley Martin grabbed 10 for a double- double. Kopp paced DePauw with six.
The Thunder were just the second team to shoot over 50 percent against the Tigers this year as they connected on 51.2 percent from the floor, while the Tigers shot just 35.2 percent.