Junior guard Lauren Denison rang up 11 points during the first quarter as the third-seeded Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team built a double-digit lead, and the Bishops went on to defeat second-seeded DePauw 79-66 in a North Coast Athletic Conference tournament semifinal contest on Friday in Greencastle, Ind.
Ohio Wesleyan advances to the NCAC tournament championship game to face fourth-seeded Oberlin, a 63-57 winner over top-seeded Wittenberg in Friday’s first semifinal matchup, at 4 p.m. today in Greencastle, Ind. The winner of today’s tournament championship game will receive the NCAC’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament.
With the score tied at 6, junior guard Elizabeth Homan hit a jumper from the lane to put the Bishops ahead to stay.
Denison scored the Bishops’ next 6 points on a pair of 3-pointers as Ohio Wesleyan took a 14-6 lead midway through the opening period, then hit another 3-pointer later in the quarter. Sophomore post Karlee Ross sank a pair of free throws during the final minute of the quarter to give the Bishops a 23-13 lead at the break.
The Bishops kept the Tigers at arm’s length during the second quarter, not allowing DePauw to come closer than 9 points thanks in part to timely 3-pointers by junior guard Kasey Schipfer, Denison, and freshman guard Graci Simptemphelter.
Baskets by sophomore post Alyssa Griner and Homan, sandwiched around a 3-point play from Schipfer, helped Ohio Wesleyan open up its biggest lead of the game at 55-37 at the 6:35 mark of the third quarter, and the Bishops kept up the momentum the rest of the way, allowing the Tigers to come no closer than 13 points during the remainder of the contest.
Schipfer led the Bishops with 24 points and 5 assists. Denison finished with 15 points, Ross had 11 points and a team-high 8 rebounds, and Homan scored 11 points.