GREENCASTLE, IND. - Sophomore post Taylor Dickson and junior post Emily Julius combined for 29 second-half points to lead Ohio Wesleyan to a 72-65 win over seventh-ranked DePauw in a semifinal contest of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament on Friday in Greencastle, Ind.
The Bishops advance to the tournament championship game to face Wittenberg, a 76-72 overtime winner over Denison in Friday's opening semifinal. The championship game tips off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, with the winner receiving the NCAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament. This marks Ohio Wesleyan's first appearance in the championship game since the 2009 tournament, when the Bishops defeated Allegheny by a 73-65 count to win their fifth NCAC tournament crown. The loss was the first suffered by DePauw in the NCAC tournament in the 4 seasons since the Tigers began NCAC competition.
Ohio Wesleyan led, 43-42, with 12:09 left in regulation time when the Bishops took off on a 13-3 run. Julius buried a pair of 3-pointers during the next minute of play to give Ohio Wesleyan a 49-42 lead, and after lay-ins by senior guard Sarah McQuade and Dickson, it was Dickson with a 3-pointer that put Ohio Wesleyan up, 56-45, with 6:43 left in regulation time.
The Tigers got back into the game with an 8-0 run, with Hannah Douglas hitting a lay-in, Savannah Trees and Hannah Lukemeyer following with jumpers, and Trees sinking a pair of free throws to bring DePauw within 58-57 with 2:24 remaining.
After the teams traded points, Julius knocked down another 3-pointer to stretch the Bishop lead to 63-59 with 1:20 to play, and after a Tiger miss, senior post LaNiece McRae grabbed the defensive rebound, was fouled, and hit both free throws to make it 65-59 with :58 to go.
A pair of Trees free throws brought DePauw within 4, but Dickson hit a jumper on Ohio Wesleyan's next possession, and Dickson and Julius each hit a pair of free throws during the closing seconds to seal the outcome.
DePauw opened up an early 9-4 lead on an Emma Ondik 3-pointer, only to see the Bishops storm back with an 8-0 run to take a 12-9 lead, with McQuade hitting a 3-pointer, McRae sinking a lay-in, and Julius hitting her first trifecta of the contest. There was only one lead of more than 4 points during the remainder of the half, which ended with the Tigers holding a 31-28 lead.
Baskets by Trees and Douglas gave DePauw a 35-28 edge early in the second half, but Ohio Wesleyan roared back to take the lead as Dickson drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to cap an 8-0 Bishop run that gave the visitors a 36-35 lead.
Julius led the Bishops with 17 points, going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. McRae finished with 16 points and team-best 11 rebounds, Dickson scored 15 points, and McQuade added 13 points and a team-high 5 assists.
Trees led DePauw with 26 points.