DePauw Tops Wittenberg to Advance to NCAC Semifinals

DePauw Tops Wittenberg to Advance to NCAC Semifinals

Greencastle, Ind. - Second-seed DePauw held seventh-seed Wittenberg to just one field goal over the final seven minutes of its North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal game and the host Tigers advance to the semifinal with a 56-46 win.

DePauw improved to 20-6 and faces Kenyon in Friday's 6 p.m. NCAC semifinal game at Denison. Wittenberg concluded its season with a 7-17 record.  

Wittenberg scored the game's first five points and finished the period with a 5-0 run to take an 18-10 lead at the quarter break. DePauw trailed by as many as 10 in the opening minute of the second quarter, but scored nine straight to trim the margin to 20-19.

DePauw eventually caught Wittenberg at 23-23 on Abby Keller's layup and took a 26-23 lead to the intermission after Emily Budde knocked in a jumper and later hit a free throw.

Wittenberg's Riley McDonald and Alex Kiess each hit threes in a 33-second span to give their team a 35-30 advantage with 2:17 remaining in the third. Keller's two free throws and Maya Howard's 3-pointer evened the count at 35-35 as the teams headed to the final stanza.

Kiess nailed a three on the first possession of the fourth to give Wittenberg a 38-35 lead before Claire Ryan countered with a layup. Ryan then converted a steal into a fast break layup before Maya Howard knocked in another trey to cap a 7-0 run in just 57 seconds to give the hosts a 42-38 lead.

Taylore Bundy stopped the DePauw run with a 3-pointer, but Maya Howard nailed a pair of free throws and Taylor Howard connected on a layup to make it 46-41 with 5:57 remaining. 

Wittenberg was within four with less than two minutes left before Ryan found Taylor Howard open for a layup with the shot clock winding down. McDonald made two free throws at the 1:22 mark and Wittenberg got the ball back, but Taylor Howard blocked Michelle Brunswick's layup and tied her up with possession going in favor of DePauw.

Ryan hit two free throws with 42 seconds left to extend DePauw's lead to 52-46 before Wittenberg failed to connect on a 3-pointer. Taylor Howard hit two more free throws with 26 seconds left. Another missed Wittenberg trey followed and Taylor Howard knocked in the final two charity tosses for the 10-point margin.

Taylor Howard led DePauw with 16 points and Maya Howard followed with 13 and each had six rebounds in the win. Bundy paced Wittenberg with 14 points with McDonald grabbing six rebounds.

DePauw shot 40.4 percent for the game to Wittenberg's 35.4 percent and the guests hit 7-of-21 from beyond the arc to the hosts' 3-of-7. DePauw hit 15-of-20 free throws and knocked in all 10 second-half attempts, while Wittenberg was 5-of-6 from the line.

NOTES: DePauw moved to 11-1 all-time in NCAC Tournament games and is appearing in the semifinals for the fifth-straight year ... Dating back to competition in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Tigers have now won 14 straight quarterfinal games. ... with tonight's win, DePauw extended its streak of 20-win seasons to 15 and only Hope College has a longer such streak in Division III ... DePauw has held 16 opponents to fewer than 50 points this season.