D-III Midwest Musings: DePauw is Dominant

A look back at the games of D3 Midwest teams from November 12-18, 2019.

It’s an interesting time right now for Division III teams in women’s college basketball. There is no set schedule for when teams must start playing, so while some have played up to four games, others haven’t started their season yet. Despite that, this season has already had its fair share of domination and upsets among teams from the Midwest. Observe:

Teams of the Week: DePauw University and Loras College

The DePauw (Ind.) University Tigers were ranked 10th in the D3Hoops.com preseason poll and 12th in the WBCA preseason poll, so it should be of little surprise that they are currently undefeated to start their season (3-0, 0-0 North Coast Athletic Conference). However, the Tigers had to face some tough opponents in close games to keep their record unblemished.

After an easy road win at conference foe Earlham (Ind.) last week, DePauw traveled west to take part in the Wisconsin-Whitewater Tipoff Tournament. The Tigers started the tournament with a come-from-behind victory over Wis.-Stevens Point, 66-61, on Friday, November 15th. The Pointers, who were picked to finish second-to-last in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, held their own against DePauw throughout the game. UWSP won the first and third quarters before DePauw came back to win the game in part thanks to senior guard Sydney Kopp, who hit two key free throws at the end of the contest. She led everyone with 26 points.

A day later, the Tigers went into overtime in a contest against tournament host Wis.-Whitewater. Kopp once again came up big against the Warhawks, scoring a career-high 36 points in DePauw’s overtime victory. She also finished with four points in the overtime period, all free throws. The first set Kopp scored gave the Tigers the lead for good. She was nearly perfect from the free throw line in the contest, only missing two attempts near the end of the game. Kopp received the Tipoff Tournament MVP award and the NCAC Player of the Week award for her efforts. She was also dominant on the other side of the ball, as she and junior Claire Keefe led the Tigers with eight rebounds each. DePauw next takes on another WIAC foe in Wis.-Oshkosh (2-1), which knocked the team out of the NCAA Tournament last season, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the rematch.

The Loras College (Iowa) Duhawks also had a good week of play, as they upset two ranked teams in the Loras Tip-Off Classic. The Duhawks began their home season with a 94-81 win over then-No. 16 Washington University St. Louis on Friday, November 15. Loras led by four at the half before the Bears came back to tie the game at 64-64 after the third quarter. Then, the Duhawks came back with a 29-17 fourth quarter advantage to win the game and get the upset. Loras used important contributions from starters and reserves to get the win, including freshmen Madison Fleckenstein (free throws in the first quarter to give LC the lead) and Madison Haslow (hit LC’s first basket in ~six minutes in the third quarter). Senior Macenzie Kraemer led the Duhawks with 20 points, while junior Marissa Schroeder had a double-double (17p, 11r).

Loras followed that upset with another upset a day later, when the Duhawks beat then-No. 8 Wis.-Oshkosh 88-83 in overtime in the tournament’s championship game. This contest was close the entire way, as no team finished a quarter with a lead of more than nine points. The Titans took the game to overtime when junior guard Leah Porath, who was named to the D3Hoops.com team of the week, scored to tie the game at 75 with seven seconds left. But Loras then took control in the extra frame, as junior Kari Fitzpatrick scored two of her 19 points in the last seconds to give her team the win. Fellow junior Courtney Schnoor led the Duhawks with 23 points, while Kraemer added 22. Loras is now ranked No. 22 in the WBCA’s poll after the upsets.

Cass’s Starting Five

G Kendall Sosa, Jr., Illinois Wesleyan: Sosa scored a career-high 35 points in the Titans’ upset win over then-No. 18 Chicago on Tuesday, November 12th. The mark is the fifth highest in IWU history according to the school. She also played a big role in wins over Wis.-Stout and Calvin (Mich.) to give the now-No. 18 Titans the St. Norbert (Wis.) Tipoff Tournament title over the weekend. Sosa received the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin’s Player of the Week award for her efforts.

G Tj Mills, Sr., Bluffton (Ohio): Mills did not light up the scoreboard but she contributed where it counted the most in Bluffton’s only game of the week. She scored two key free throws near the end of the game to help secure the Beavers’ come-from-behind victory over Olivet (Mich.) on Saturday, November 16th. Mills also had a game-high seven assists in the win.

F/C Rain Hinton, Jr., Albion (Mich.): Hinton scored 27 points, one away from her career mark, while adding 14 rebounds in Albion’s comeback win over Ohio Wesleyan on Friday, November 15th. She then scored 13 points a day later in the Brits’ victory over Marietta College. Hinton was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Women’s Basketball Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

F Kenya Earl, Jr., Lawrence (Wis.): Earl scored a career-high 30 points in Lawrence’s 79-72 season-opening win over Carroll (Wis.) on Saturday, November 16th. It’s the sixth-highest mark in school history in a game that was the Vikings’ first win over Carroll since the 2005-06 season. The junior was named the Midwest Conference’s Women’s Basketball Performer of the Week.

F Hanna Geistfeld, Jr., Bethany Lutheran (Minn.): Geistfeld matched her career mark with 31 points in the Vikings’ 92-72 win over Waldorf (Iowa) on Monday, November 18th. She also had a team-high 11 rebounds for Bethany Lutheran, who was chosen to top the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference standings this year.

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