Saturday women: Shades of 2014

DePauw has one more shot at continuing its run of NCAA Tournament runs after winning the NCAC automatic bid.
North Coast Athletic Conference photo

It looks like 2014 all over again, as familiar faces FDU-Florham and DePauw qualified for the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, looking like teams a few players removed from their former glory. DePauw won the national title in 2013 and FDU-Florham followed in 2014 but this year each knew they needed a conference tournament title this week to get back to the Big Dance. 

They each clinched a spot in the 2016 Division III women's basketball Field of 64, which will be announced on Monday afternoon. Follow all the coverage this weekend and into Monday on, where we'll get you all the latest projections, plus a link to the selection show and then post-selection analysis.

DePauw's streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances grew to 13 when the Tigers pounded Allegheny 83-53 for the NCAC tournament title. One night after hitting the game-winning shot against Kenyon, Emily Budde scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Florham (21-6) won its fourth consecutive MAC Freedom tournament, starting the run at the end of the first half and dominating the second in a 69-44 win at DeSales. Shalette Brown scored 15 points and had 21 rebounds for her 23rd double-double of the season.

Mary Washington made sure it was the CAC team that wasn't sitting waiting for a tournament bid as the Eagles won at Marymount 73-58 to clinch the Capital Athletic Conference automatic bid. And the third-seeded Eagles (24-4) did it with lockdown defense in the fourth quarter, holding Marymount (22-5) to just 1-for-9 shooting, winning the quarter 24-9. Kendall Parker scored 16 points in 29 minutes off the bench for Mary Washington, which defeated Marymount in all three meetings this season.

UW-Oshkosh brought a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter at UW-River Falls and held off the Falcons for its third consecutive WIAC tournament title, 65-64. The Falcons pulled within one point with 15 seconds left but Taylor Schmidt hit two free throws to put the game out of reach. Schmidt finished with 23 points for the Titans, including 7-for-8 from the free throw line. The Falcons (22-5) should be a shoo-in for an at-large bid. 

No. 1 Thomas More will enter the NCAA Tournament with a perfect record for the third consecutive year. Washington and Jefferson battled the Saints to a 17-all tie score at the end of one quarter, but Thomas More took over from there and cruised to a 93-74 win. Sydney Moss tallied 37 points and 13 rebounds for the Saints, who used 17 players, the most they'll be able to play the rest of the season.

No. 2 George Fox did the same for the second year in a row. The Bruins shot 7-for-11 from three and handled Puget Sound 76-57. Unlike in prior years where the Bruins had to beat one of their conference mates during the first weekend of the tournament, this time George Fox will be the only NWC representative.

No. 3 Scranton also finished a perfect run to the NCAA tournament by beating Catholic 78-57 in the Landmark Conference tournament final. The Royals and Cardinals played a frenetic first quarter, with 57 points combined in the first period. Scranton (27-0) settled in defensively and kept Catholic to 33 points the rest of the way. The Royals captured their 25th conference title and fourth in the Landmark.

Several other teams that didn't need an automatic bid to reach the NCAA tournament secured them anyway. Muhlenberg dominated McDaniel 83-59 in the rubber match between the Centennial Conference's top two teams. Brandi Vallely rolled up 15 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds for the Mules (24-2).

No. 6 Hope pushed past Trine 75-58 to add the MIAA tournament title to its conference championship. Maura McAfee scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Flying Dutch (26-1), offsetting a 2-for-14 shooting performance from three.

No. 8 St. Thomas handled St. Mary's (Minn.) in the MIAC tournament final, building a 35-point lead and eventually winning 77-65. Katie Stone scored a career-high 23 points for the Tommies and set a conference single-season record for three-pointers. No. 7 Texas-Tyler completed its roll through the ASC by beating Howard Payne 77-70. 

Other conference clinchers

Sunday's title games