St. Louis, Mo. - DePauw, ranked 17th in the latest Division III coaches' poll and 19th by D3hoops.com, outscored Illinois Wesleyan 26-16 in the fourth quarter and advanced to Sunday's Midwest Challenge championship game with a 70-54 win over Illinois Wesleyan. DePauw improved to 3-1, while the Titans dropped to 2-2.
The Tigers face host Washington-St. Louis in tomorrow's 3 p.m. CDT title game after the Bears defeated Illinois College, 69-51, in today's second game.
The teams battled to a 12-12 tie after the first quarter before DePauw grabbed a 33-30 halftime advantage. The Tigers held the lead throughout the third quarter before and took a 44-38 advantage into the final stanza.
The Titans closed the gap to four on the first possession of the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they got as Emily Budde scored the next five. Illinois Wesleyan was within eight at 53-45, but back-to-back threes by Maya Howard and Budde extended the margin to 14.
Abby Keller notched a career-high 20 points and added a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double. Budde netted a career-best 17 points, while Maya Howard added 15 and Taylor Howard 10. Claire Ryan handed out a career-best six assists.
Rebekah Ehresman paced the Titans with 18, while Maddie Merritt added 13. Gabby Weber grabbed a team-high seven boards. and Molly McGraw dished out four assists.
DePauw shot 49.1 percent from the floor, while holding Illinois Wesleyan to just 35.3 percent and the Tigers held a 43-27 edge on the boards.