National Championship Completes DePauw Perfect Season
March 16, 2013
Holland, Mich. - The DePauw women's basketball team has been a juggernaut for several years, but what it wrapped up this evening at the DeVos Fieldhouse was truly special with its 69-51 victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA Division III national championship game.
The Tigers not only captured their second national title in the last seven years and finished with just the seventh undefeated season in Division III history, but they placed themselves in the record book as the only team to win 34 games in a season.
DePauw's intensity was evident from the beginning of the contest as it converted three Warhawks turnovers into seven points and grabbed a 9-2 lead in the opening 2:22.
Whitewater stopped the run with Cortney Kumerow's jumper, but the top-ranked Tigers scored the next 14 including six points from Savannah Trees and five from Kate Walker to extend the lead to 23-4 with 9:08 left in the half.
The lead reached a high-water mark of 20 on Alison Stephen's jumper before Whitewater drew within 12 at 26-14. Walker's jumper near the end of the half sent the Tigers to the intermission with a 35-18 lead.
After shooting 62.5 percent in the first half, the Tigers struggled in the opening minutes of the second half and Whitewater took advantage with six straight points to close the gap to 11.
The knockout blow may have come near the midpoint of the second half as Savannah Trees hit a jumper and Ellie Pearson turned a steal into a fastbreak layup which made it 53-31 with 9:47 left.
The Warhawks took a 30-second timeout and countered with a Mary Merg three, but Stephens second-chance bucket and Walker's trey pushed the lead to 58-34 with 8:23 left and the Tigers were in control the rest of the way.
"I liked the way we started that game," DePauw head coach Kris Huffman said.
"Defensively we had a ton of ball pressure. We disrupted their flow and we got our hands on a lot of things. Obviously we are undersized in the post against just about everyone we play. So ball pressure had been one way we tried to buy some time behind the basketball."
Walker led DePauw with a tournament-high 17 points with Trees adding 16 and Pearson 14. The three combined to shoot 21-30 from the floor as DePauw shot 61.2 percent. Pearson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the finals, while Walker joined her on the all-tournament team.
"Coach Huffman never takes any credit, and she never will," Walker said. "That’s what makes her a fantastic coach. One of the many reason, all the credit goes toward coach. All three of the seniors, we have an amazing relationship with her."
Kumerow paced Whitewater with 22 points and seven rebounds as the Warhawks became the first team in the last 54 games to outrebound the Tigers as they held a 28-27 edge. Kumerow was named to the all-tournament team as well.
DePauw matched a season-high with 18 turnovers, but turned 22 Warhawks miscues into 30 points.
Pearson, Walker and Kathleen Molloy finished their careers with a 112-10 record and set the DePauw four-year record for wins previously held by the seniors on the 2007-08 team.
For more information on the DePauw women’s basketball program, follow DePauw on Twitter (@DePauwAthletics / @DePauw_WBB) or like them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DePauwAthletics).Back