#4 DePauw Women Open NCAA Play Tonight; Tigers Host Westminster

#4 DePauw Women Open NCAA Play Tonight; Tigers Host Westminster

March 2, 2012




Greencastle, Ind. - DePauw (26-1) opens NCAA Division III Championship play tonight when it hosts a first-round game against Westminster, Mo. (22-4). Tipoff from the Neal Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m. The other first-round game is set for 5 p.m. and features Carthage (20-7) and Wisconsin-Whitewater (22-6). Friday’s winners square off in Saturday’s 7 p.m. second-round contest.

Tickets are available at the gate which opens at 4 p.m. Adult tickets are $6, while senior citizens, students and children will be admitted for $3. DePauw students, who show their University ID, will be admitted free of charge courtesy of the DePauw Athletics department.

The Tigers, ranked fourth by D3hoops.com and in the USA Today/ESPN Division III Coaches’ Poll, earned automatic qualification into the tournament after winning the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday with a 61-41 win over Denison. Tournament MVP Katie Aldrich led DePauw with her second straight double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Aldrich leads DePauw with 11.6 points per game, while Ali Ross follows with 11.0 along with team highs of 49 three-pointers and 1.8 steals per contest. Ellie Pearson is the team leader with 8.0 rebounds per game, while Kate Walker paces the squad with 2.9 assists.

The Tigers have won 25 straight since a November 19 defeat at Franklin by a 52-47 score marking the seventh straight season in which DePauw has won at least 10 straight during a season. The 26-1 start is the best by DePauw since the 2005-06 squad was 29-1 and the 25-game streak is the second longest in school history. DePauw has extended its streak of 20-win seasons to 11 straight and 15 in the last 16 seasons.

DePauw is making its ninth straight tournament appearance and 13th in the last 17 seasons with a 19-11 all-time NCAA record.

Westminster earned automatic qualification into the tournament by winning the St. Louis Intercollegiate Tournament with Saturday’s 60-54 victory over Eureka. Tournament MVP Rachel Backes led the Blue Jays with 13 points, while Heather Letourneau and Liz Klaffenbach each grabbed 11 rebounds. Westminster went 14-2 in conference play and enters the tournament on a five-game win streak. Their last two losses were by three and two points, respectively.

Leigh Ann Lutz and Backes lead the team with 11.9 points apiece with Backes pacing the team with 2.8 assists. Letourneau is the team leader with 7.2 rebounds per contest and ranks 21st in the nation with 3.4 steals. Lutz also leads with 58 three-pointers.

Friday’s opening game pits a pair of teams which earned at-large bids to the tournament. Carthage dropped a 68-67 decision at Illinois Wesleyan in Saturday’s College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title game. Wisconsin-Whitewater lost in Saturday’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship at Wisconsin-Stevens Point by an 80-61 score.