The Denison University Big Red captured their first NCAC Women’s Basketball title since 2010-11 and their fourth overall after finishing the regular season with a 15-1 mark against league foes. The Big Red, who snapped DePauw’s recent string of four-straight NCAC titles, will also enter the NCAC Tournament on a 15-game winning streak. 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, 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 overall titles, followed by Denison (4), Kenyon (3) and Wooster (2).
Denison (22-3, 15-1) will be the top seed in the 2016 NCAC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The tournament begins with quarterfinal games on campus sites on Tuesday (2/23). Tournament seeding follows the final regular season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The Big Red hosts eight-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (5-11, 6-19) and second seed DePauw (19-6, 13-3) hosts seventh seed Wittenberg (6-10, 7-16). In the other quarterfinal games on Tuesday, third-seeded Kenyon (11-5, 17-8) hosts the six seed Hiram (6-12, 12-13) and fourth-seeded Allegheny (13-12, 8-8) entertains fifth-seeded Oberlin (6-10, 12-13).
Tuesday’s winners will advance to the semifinals and championship on Friday and Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinal round. 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 4:00 p.m. 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 (2/25) and the men’s semifinals will be played on Friday (2/26). 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 champion will again receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 4th.
TOURNEY TALK: Wittenberg is the defending NCAC tournament champion after defeating Ohio Wesleyan 81-57, in the 2015 tournament final. Denison (7), Wittenberg (8), Ohio Wesleyan (5) and Allegheny (5) have combined to win 25-of-31 women’s tournament titles. DePauw (3), Kenyon (2) and Wooster (1) account for the six other tournament titles. Wittenberg leads all conference teams with 15 appearances in the championship game, while Ohio Wesleyan is close behind with 14. Denison has reached the finals ten times, while Allegheny has made a finals trip nine times. Kenyon has six title game appearances, while Wooster has four. Hiram enters the NCAC Tournament for the second-consecutive year looking to advance past the quarterfinal round for the first time in program history after having won the most games in league play in school history. Oberlin, this year’s fifth seed, looks to advance past the quarterfinal round for the first time since 1999. DePauw, entering its fifth NCAC Tournament, carries a 9-1 record in tournament action, while Wittenberg has been the most consistent team in tournament play with a .714 winning percentage (45-18). Ohio Wesleyan has gone 44-26 in the tournament (.629), followed by Denison at 34-23 (.596) and Allegheny at 28-26 (.519). At 30-30, Kenyon (.500) is the next closest team.