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Tigers Top Denison in NCAA Play; Face Bears on Saturday

Tigers Top Denison in NCAA Play; Face Bears on Saturday

March 7, 2008

BOX SCORES: Washington 73, Wilmington 72 | DePauw 70, Denison 53 

March 7, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - Sixth-ranked DePauw never trailed and advanced to the NCAA Division III second round with a 70-53 win over Denison. The Tigers improved to 26-3 with their 25th straight home win, while the Big Red finished the season at 18-11.

DePauw advances to Saturday's 7 p.m. second round game where they'll face Washington University. The 19-7 Bears defeated Wilmington by a 73-72 count in tonight's first game. DePauw and Washington last met in last year's national title game with DePauw winning, 55-52.

The Tigers hit seven of their first 10 field goals in jumping out to an 18-6 lead six minutes into the game and extended the margin to as many as 15 at 25-10 with just under 10 minutes left in the half.

DePauw, however, missed its next nine shots and connected on just one of its final 19 of the half, but still led 30-19 at the intermission.

Jenna Fernandez scored on the Tigers' first possession of the second half and Cassie Pruzin nailed a three on the next to push the lead to 16. The Big Red closed the gap to 10, but the Tigers extended it back to 16 with just less than nine minutes left.

Carolyn Simpson's three-pointer with 4:05 left trimmed DePauw's lead to 60-50, but the Tigers' Katie Mathews came right back with a jumper before Kalei Lowes and Gretchen Haehl each scored layups to put the game away.

Pruzin led the Tigers with 19 points, while Haehl added 13. Mathews added 11 and Fernandez followed with 10. Emily Marshall grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds as DePauw held a 46-36 edge on the boards. Pruzin and Lowes each dished out four assists, while Pruzin had five steals.

Simpson paced the Big Red with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Haley Dahlgard added 12 points. Ellen O'Brien finished with five assists and Simpson blocked three shots.

"Carolyn Simpson is quite a player," DePauw head coach Kris Huffman said. "We talked about limiting her touches and I thought we did a pretty good job of making her entry passes difficult."

DePauw shot just 37.5 percent for the game, but hit 7-of-14 three-pointers and committed just nine turnovers. Denison finished at 38.6 percent from the floor.

"They played an outstanding game," Denison coach Sara Lee said of DePauw. "We knew it'd be a hard fought match, but we played our best."

In the evening's first game, Washington's Halsey Ward hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds left and lifted the Bears to the one-point win.

The Bears led by as many as nine in the first half before Wilmington battled back and closed the first half with a 5-0 run to tie the score at 35-35. The Quakers opened the second half with an 8-0 stretch which made it 43-35 and eventually led by as many as 12 at 54-42.

Later in the half the Bears used a 12-2 run to pull to within one before taking a 63-61 lead with 8:12 left. Wilmington then scored six straight to grab a 67-63 advantage with six minutes remaining.

Zoe Unruh's jumper with 1:28 left closed the Wilmington lead to 71-70 before the Quakers' Allie Meranda hit one of two free throws to make it 72-70 with 33 seconds remaining. The Quakers had two chances to take the lead with less than 10 seconds left, but the Bears eventually grabbed the rebound.

Washington missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Jackie Hauke's long heave at the buzzer was off the mark.

Janice Evans led the Bears with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, while Unruh added 14 points. Ward followed with 12 and Shanna-Lei Dacanay added 10. Alex Hoover dished out five assists.

Gina Hyle paced the Quakers with 24, while Katie Streck finished with 17 points and 10 boards. Kortney Kin scored 10 and hauled down eight rebounds.

Wilmington shot 44.8 percent from the floor to the Bears' 42.0 percent, but Washington nailed 10-of-18 three-pointers and turned the ball over just 10 times and held a 21-12 edge in points off of turnovers.