UW-Whitewater women fall in NCAA D3 championship - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW-Whitewater women fall in NCAA D3 championship

MADISON, WI (WKOW) -- The UW-Whitewater women's basketball team finished the best season in program history, hoisting the national runner-up trophy after a 69-51 loss to unbeaten and number one ranked DePauw University in the NCAA III championship game played in DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Head coach Keri Carollo summed up her reaction to the game by noting how proud she is of the team. "I'm extremely proud of our program and these young women that came together and really put together just a magical run to get to this point. To be able to play for a national championship is everything that a coach could ever dream of and to do it with 24 of the finest young women that decided to be part of the ride, I'm really proud of this group."

DePauw University capped a perfect season, 34-0, with the national championship. Whitewater ended the season 26-7, the second highest victory total in school history, trailing only the 2008 team that finished third and went 29-4.

The Tigers came out on fire. DU took a 9-2 lead after making their first four field goals. Leading 14-5, the Tigers were 6-9 from the field and 2-2 from three point range. Whitewater was 2-7 without a three.

DePauw then extended the lead to 23-4, holding UW-W without a point from17:11 to 8:51. Whitewater responded with a 9-0 run to close within 25-14, but the Tigers quickly turned the tide back in their favor with their own run to take a 32-14 lead. The deficit at halftime was 17, 35-18, the largest at the break since UW-W played Hope early in mid-December and the Warhawks trailed 35-9 at intermission.

DePauw shot 63% from the field in the half making 15-24 field goals. UW-W's was 8-20, 40%.

Senior center Cortney Kumerow (Bartlett, IL/South Elgin) opened the second half with an old fashioned three-point play. Junior guard Kaitlyn Thill (Belgium/Ozaukee) drew an offensive foul call and it looked like a completely different Warhawk team had taken the court after halftime.

Whitewater forced an early Tiger timeout after scoring the first six points of the half to pull within eleven, 35-24 with 16:50 remaining. UW-W held the Tigers scoreless for the first 4:11 in the second half before DePauw senior forward Ellie Pearson broke the drought.

The Tigers pushed the lead back up to double digits, and with the second media timeout stopping play, the scoreboard showed DePauw with the lead 47-29 and 11:33 on the clock and reached twenty at 11:06, 49-29.

The Tigers unblemished record, 34-0, broke the NCAA Division III record for wins in a season.

UW-Whitewater's second place finish tops any previous women's basketball team since it became an intercollegiate sport at the school in 1966. The school's previous high water mark came in 1982, when UW-W finished third in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division III championship, and when Keri Carollo directed the Warhawks to a third place finish in the 2008 NCAA III championship tournament.

UW-Whitewater and DePauw had met just one other time in program history. The Warhawks topped the Tigers 83-80 in an NCAA championship quarterfinal game in 2008, after which UW-W advanced to the final four, which was also hosted by Hope College in Holland.

Whitewater's run through the NCAA III championship tournament began with a first round 68-48 win over Wisconsin Lutheran College, followed the next night by a 71-51 win over Carthage College. UW-W, ranked twenty-second in the final D3hoops.com poll, defeated number ten Simpson College 76-63 in a sectional semifinal, and punched their ticket to the final four with a 65-60 win over second ranked Hope College in a quarterfinal. UW-W advanced to Saturday's title game with a 64-62 overtime win over Amherst College, ranked sixth by D3hoops.com, Friday night.
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