2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament

            

2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament Champions

DePauw

Top-seeded DePauw (24-4) captured its sixth NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament  title after defeating second-seeded Denison (18-9) by a 61-50 margin on Saturday afternoon at DePauw University’s Neal Fieldhouse. As tournament champions, the Tigers have earned the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, which will open with first and second round games next weekend on campus sites.

To start the game, the Tigers went on two 5-0 runs producing a 10-1 advantage three minutes in and ended the quarter up 14-5. The Big Red would fight back in the second quarter, cutting the lead to one, 26-25. DePauw would hold onto its lead throughout the final 20 minutes. The Tigers held an advantage in rebounding, 39-31, points in the paint, 30-22, and shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field, while Denison’s reserves poured in 25 points compared to the Tiger’s bench netting 15.

After tallying 15 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal in the championship game DePauw sophomore Claire Keefe (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) collected the Nan Nichols Award as the tournament’s most valuable player. In the three tournament games combined, Keefe scored 47 points, gathered 17 boards, blocked three shots, earned two steal and dished one assist.

Joining Keefe on the 2019 NCAC Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team was junior teammate Sydney Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) along with Denison juniors Lauren Longbrake (Groveport, Ohio/Hamilton Twp.) and Lauren Hofer (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty), Ohio Wesleyan sophomore Tia Karras (Bellbrook, Ohio/Miami Valley) and Wittenberg sophomore Delaney Williams (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest High School).

2019 NCAC Women's Basketball All-Tournament Team
Tia Karras, Ohio Wesleyan
Delaney Williams, Wittenberg
Lauren Hofer, Denison
Lauren Longbrake, Denison
Sydney Kopp, DePauw

Tournament MVP (Nan Nichols Award) - Claire Keefe, DePauw

 

2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinals:   Semifinals:   Championship:

Tuesday, February 19
(at higher seeds)

  Friday, February 22
(at DePauw)
  Saturday, February 23
(at DePauw)
#1 DePauw 73, #8 Allegheny 40 - Boxscore   #1 DePauw 57, #4 Wittenberg 48 - Boxscore   #1 DePauw 61, #2 Denison 50 - Boxscore
#2 Denison 82, #7 Hiram 53 - Boxscore   #2 Denison 68, #6 Ohio Wesleyan 59 - Boxscore         
#6 Ohio Wesleyan 63, #3 Kenyon 52 - Boxscore        
#4 Wittenberg 70, #5 Oberlin 64 - Boxscore        
Bracket -- Stats -- Tickets  -- Directions  --  Merchandise --  NCAC Tournament Records

 

SEMIFINAL RECAPS:

The finals are set for the 2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament with DePauw and Denison to meet for the title on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at DePauw University’s Neal Fieldhouse in Greencastle, Indiana. The Tigers will be playing in the championship game for the sixth time in program history, while the Big Red will be playing in the title game for the 12th time.

Top-seeded DePauw advanced into the title game after defeating fourth-seeded Wittenberg, 57-48, in Friday’s first semifinal contest. In the first half, Wittenberg sophomore Delaney Williams (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest High School) led all scorers with 11 points, while DePauw sophomore Claire Keefe (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) tallied a team-high eight points and gathered six rebounds. The Red and White led for 14:20 of the first half, taking their largest lead, 10 points, with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter. DePauw senior Maya Howard (St. Louis, Mo./MICDS) netted a layup as time expired in the first half to put the Gold and Black up by one heading into the locker room, 24-23. The second half would see DePauw hold on to its led for the remaining 20 minutes, going up by its largest lead of 10 points with 2:30 remaining in the fourth. The Gold and Black slightly edged Wittenberg in rebounds, 43-36, and recorded 28 points in the paint compared to the Red and White's 18, while Wittenberg had a 9-6 advantage in bench points.

Keefe led DePauw in scoring as she tied her career-high with a game-high 22 points, just missing a double-double as she gathered nine rebounds in the semifinal victory. Junior Sydney Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) netted 15 points and pulled down four boards, while Howard added nine points and six rebounds for the Gold and Black. Williams led the Red and White with 19 points to go along with six boards, while junior teammate Riley Culver (Wapakoneta, Ohio/Wapakoneta) tallied 10 points and five rebounds and sophomore Kristie Kalis (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier Township) contributed with a game-high 10 rebounds and five points.

In the second semifinal game on Friday night, second-seeded Denison secured its spot in the NCAC Tournament title game with a 68-59 victory over sixth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan. The Big Red led the way with an 18-10 advantage after the first quarter and a 35-23 lead going into the locker room. Ohio Wesleyan sophomore’s Tia Karras (Bellbrook, Ohio/Miami Valley) and Julie Kopp (Pickerington, Ohio/North) each scored seven points in the half to lead the Battling Bishops' offense. Denison junior Alison Schafer (Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia) recorded 13 points and three rebounds, while junior teammate Lauren Longbrake (Groveport, Ohio/Hamilton Twp.) pulled in four boards and senior Valesha Province (Tiffin, Ohio/Tiffin Columbian) dished four assists in the first half. The Big Red continued to hold their lead throughout the remaining two quarters, recording their largest lead, 16 points, in the third. The Battling Bishops held the advantage of points in the paint with 24-14, while Denison had the edge in rebounds, 36-21, and bench points, 32-15.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Karras tallied 17 points for the Bishops, while freshman Cierra Joiner (Centerburg, Ohio/Centerburg) scored 14 points and gathered four rebounds and junior Claire Sterling (West Jefferson, Ohio/West Jefferson) netted eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the semifinal loss. Denison was led by Schafer who netted a game-high 20 points to go along with five boards, while Province posted 14 points, five assists, three steals and two rebounds for the Big Red. 

QUARTERFINAL RECAPS:

There was just one upset on Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament, setting up the semifinal matchups this Friday at Neal Fieldhouse in Greencastle, Indiana. In the early game at 5:00 p.m., top-seeded DePauw (22-4) will square off against fourth-seeded Wittenberg (18-8), while the 7:00 p.m. nightcap will feature second-seeded Denison (17-8) and sixth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (11-15). Friday's winners will meet in the championship game at 4:00 p.m. in Greencastle on Saturday.

The top-seeded Tigers held eighth-seeded Allegheny (6-20) to just 16 points at the half en route to earning a 73-40 quarterfinal victory. DePauw saw balanced scoring as a team and was led by junior Sydney Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South), who netted a team-high 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field, to go along with three rebounds and one steal, while sophomore Claire Keefe (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) scored 10 points, blocked three shots, and pulled in two boards. It was a total team effort for DePauw as 11 different Tiger reserves outscored the Allegheny bench, 42-15. DePauw shot 43.1 percent from the floor and hit 21-of-34 from the foul line, while the Gators connected on 27.3 percent from the field and were 8-of-21 from the line. On the glass, DePauw out rebounded Allegheny 48-33 and held an edge  of 44-18 points in the paint. Allegheny senior Delaney Arbore (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) netted a game-high 15 points and added one steal, while junior Zoe Soilis (Sarver, Pa./Freeport) scored 10 points and freshman Tully Taylor (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) gathered a game-high eight rebounds in her first NCAC Tournament contest.

Second-seeded Denison advanced to the NCAC semifinals after defeating seventh-seeded Hiram (10-16), 82-53. Big Red senior Valesha Province (Tiffin, Ohio/Tiffin Columbian) scored a game-high 21 points, to go along with three assists and one rebound, while junior Lauren Hofer (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) netted 15 points, dished three helpers, gathered two boards and blocked one shot. Junior Alison Schafer (Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia) chipped in with 11 points off the bench as Denison outscored Hiram, 27-13, in bench points. Defensively the Big Red held the Terriers to 34.4 percent (22-for-64) from the field and did not allow more than 14 points each quarter. Denison won the battle in the paint, 36-16, while the Terriers totaled 14 points off turnovers. As a team, the Big Red shot 54.2 percent from the floor, dishing out 19 assists on 32 made field goals. Denison also held a 45-29 advantage on the boards. Hiram sophomore Tashauna Wright (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shakers Heights)led the Terriers with 17 points and collected five rebounds, while classmate Madison Branch (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) recorded eight points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in the losing effort.

Sixth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan captured a 63-53 upset victory over third-seeded Kenyon (17-9) to advance to the NCAC semifinals. The Battling Bishops held only a 10-9 advantage following the opening quarter and had a slight edge going into the locker room with a 25-22 lead at the half. Ohio Wesleyan then extended its lead by scoring 26 points in the third quarter to go up 51-40, before holding on for the first-round victory. The game was tightly contested with six lead changes and five ties, as Kenyon took its largest lead in the second quarter, six points, and Ohio Wesleyan took a 13-point lead in the final stanza. The Bishops led in rebounds, 43-41, while the Ladies held a 16-12 advantage with points in the paint and each team's bench netted at least 20 points with Ohio Wesleyan getting five more points from its reserves, 25-20. Kenyon freshman Grace Connery (Sparta, NJ/Lenape Valley Regional) led all scorers with 18 points, while junior teammate Paige Matijasich (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) recorded the only double-double of the night with 10 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with three assists and one steal. Ohio Wesleyan sophomore Tia Karras (Bellbrook, Ohio/Miami Valley) netted 15 points, gathered five rebounds, dished two assists and earned one block, while freshman Leah Maniaci (Marion, Ohio/Pleasant) came off the bench to score 12 points in her first NCAC quarterfinal appearance.

Wittenberg advanced to the NCAC semifinals for the second-consecutive season after claiming a 70-64 win over the defending conference tournament champion, fifth-seeded Oberlin. The Tigers led by one point after the first quarter, 23-22, while the Yeowomen took a 35-34 advantage into the half. Both teams netted 17 points in the third quarter, while Wittenberg outscored Oberlin 19-12 in the final quarter for the victory. Defensively the Tigers held the Yeowomen to just 32.8 percent from the field, while the Tigers connected on 44.2 percent including, 21-of-33 from the foul line. Oberlin took the advantage in rebounds, 46-36, while Wittenberg netted more points in the paint, 34-22, and took a slight edge in bench points, 18-17. Oberlin senior Alexandra Stipano (Alexandria, Va./Bishop Ireton) led all scorers with 17 points and added two assists and two steals on the night, while junior teammate Jasmine Sorrells (San Francisco, Calif./French American) came off the bench to collect a game-high 12 rebounds, to go along with eight points, two blocks, and one assist. Wittenberg was led by sophomore Delaney Williams (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest High School) who had 16 points, six boards, four steals and two assists, while sophomore Kristie Kalis (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier Township) netted 13 points and junior Riley Culver (Wapakoneta, Ohio/Wapakoneta) grabbed a team-high seven boards in the win.

SEEDINGS & PAIRINGS: 

DePauw (15-1) will be the top seed in the 2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins with quarterfinal games on campus sites on Tuesday evening. Tournament seeding follows the final regular-season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The tie between Kenyon (11-5) and Wittenberg (11-5) for third-place and the tie between Allegheny (2-14) and Wooster (2-14) for eighth-place were both broken via the conference tiebreaker system for seeding purposes only.

DePauw captured its seventh NCAC women's basketball title in the last eight years after finishing the 2018-19 regular season with a near perfect 15-1 record against league foes. Wittenberg leads all conference teams with 12 NCAC championships, sharing the crown with Ohio Wesleyan in 1999 and '92. Allegheny is next with six titles, winning five-straight from 1985-89. The Gators shared the NCAC's first championship in 1985 with Wooster. Additionally, Allegheny and Ohio Wesleyan tied for first in 2001. The Battling Bishops own five titles, followed by Denison (4), Kenyon (3) and Wooster (2).

Quarterfinal round games will be played on Tuesday, February 19, with the No. 1 seeded DePauw Tigers hosting eighth-seeded Allegheny at 8:00 p.m. and second-seeded Denison (12-4) hosting seventh-seeded Hiram (4-12) at 7:30 p.m. In the other quarterfinal games, third-seeded Kenyon will play host to sixth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (5-11) at 7:00 p.m., and fourth-seeded Wittenberg entertains fifth-seeded Oberlin (15-10, 10-6) at 8:00 p.m. The quarterfinal games at DePauw and Wittenberg will be part of a doubleheader with the men, who will play first at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday's winners will advance to the semifinals and championship on Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23, at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinal round. Semifinal games will be held at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Friday with the host institution selecting its preferred time slot. The championship game is set for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. 

In the event that one institution hosts both the men's and women's "final four," the women's semifinals will be played on Thursday, February 21, and the men's semifinals will be played on Friday. The championship games would then be played on Saturday with the women playing at 3:00 p.m. and the men at 7:00 p.m. In this scenario, the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for each contest.

This year's tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 1st and 2nd.

TOURNEY TALK: Oberlin is the defending NCAC Tournament Champion after defeating Wittenberg 71-39, in the 2018 tournament final to claim the Yeowomen's first title ... Wittenberg (8), Denison (7), DePauw (5), Ohio Wesleyan (5) and Allegheny (5) have combined to win 30-of-34 women’s tournament titles, while Kenyon (2), Oberlin (1) and Wooster (1) account for the four other tournament titles ... Wittenberg leads all conference teams with 16 appearances in the championship game, while Ohio Wesleyan is close behind with 14. Denison has 11 NCAC finals appearances and Allegheny has reached the finals ten times. Kenyon has six title game appearances, while DePauw has five and Wooster has four ... Hiram enters the NCAC Tournament for the fifth-consecutive year, looking to advance past the quarterfinal round for the first time in program history ... Oberlin, this year’s fifth seed, looks to advance to the semifinals for the third-consecutive season and return to the championship final ... DePauw, entering its eighth NCAC Tournament, carries a 17-2 record in tournament action and the league’s highest winning percentage at .895, while Wittenberg is second in tournament play with a .691 winning percentage (47-21). Ohio Wesleyan has gone 44-28 in the tournament (.611), followed by Denison at 37-26 (.587) and Allegheny at 30-28 (.517). At 32-32, Kenyon (.500) is the only other women’s team at or above the .500 mark in tournament play.