The DePauw Tigers, two-time defending conference champions, completed NCAC play with a 15-1 record and secured the top-seed despite losing, 65-64, at Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday. The loss snapped DePauw’s 58-game win streak and 77-game regular season winning streak. The Tigers 24-1 record marks the fifth-straight year DePauw has won at least 24 games in a season and the 13th-straight season with at least 22 wins. Wittenberg leads all league teams with 12 NCAC championships, sharing the crown with Ohio Wesleyan in 1999 and ‘92. Allegheny is next with six titles, including five-straight from 1985-89. No other team in conference history has won more than three consecutive championships. 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 overall titles, while Kenyon and Denison each boast three and Wooster two.
DePauw (15-1, 24-1) will be the top seed in the 30th annual NCAC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Tournament play begins with quarterfinal games at campus sites on Tuesday. Tournament seeding follows the final regular-season standings with the top four seeds hosting the quarterfinals. The Tigers host No. 8 seed Wooster (2-14, 7-17) and second seed Ohio Wesleyan (12-4, 17-8) hosts seventh seed Oberlin (4-12, 9-16) at 6:00 p.m. While third-seeded Denison (11-5, 19-6) hosts sixth-seeded Allegheny (8-8, 14-11) and fourth-seeded Kenyon (10-6, 15-9) hosts fifth-seeded Wittenberg (9-7, 14-10) with both contests set to tip at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday’s winners will advance to the semifinals and championship on Friday and Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed after the quarterfinals. Semifinal games will be held at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. with the high seed playing in the later time slot. The championship game is set for 7:00 p.m. This year’s champion will again receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 7-8.
TOURNEY TALK: DePauw is the two-time defending NCAC tournament champion after defeating Kenyon, 63-49, in the 2013 tournament final. Denison (7), Wittenberg (7), Ohio Wesleyan (5) and Allegheny (5) have combined to win 24 of 29 women’s tournament titles. DePauw and Kenyon each have two tournament titles, while Wooster has one. Wittenberg leads all conference teams with 14 appearances in the championship game, while Ohio Wesleyan is close behind with 13. Allegheny and Denison have each been to the finals nine times, winning a championship in all but six trips between the two squads. Kenyon has six title game appearances, while Wooster has four. Oberlin, this year’s seventh seed, has advanced past the quarterfinal round three times, but has yet to earn a trip to the championship game. Wooster returns to the NCAC tournament for the first time since 2011 as the eighth seed and will be looking to advance past the quarterfinal round for the first time since 1996. DePauw, entering its third NCAC Tournament, carries a perfect 6-0 record in tournament action, while Wittenberg has been the most consistent team in tournament play with a .712 overall winning percentage (42-17). Ohio Wesleyan has gone 41-24 in the tournament (.631), followed by Denison at 31-21 (.596) and Allegheny at 28-24 (.538). Kenyon (28-27, .509) is the next closest team.