Warhawks in Final Four ... on to Salem
UW-Whitewater is going to Salem ... in March. The Warhawks defeated Virginia Wesleyan 76-62 in a NCAA III tournament sectional final (fourth round) in Williams Center in Whitewater. UW-W, 27-4. will face MIT, 29-1, at 8:00 (Eastern) Friday, and Cabrini College, 30-1, will play Illinois Wesleyan, 23-7, at 6:00 Friday. The winners will play at 7:00 Saturday for the Division III title.
Virginia Wesleyan scored the first basket of the game, and Whitewater followed with a 15-1 run that put UW-W in front 15-3 at 15:44. The Marlins cut the deficit to single digits, 20-11 at 10:43, but Whitewater upped the margin to thirteen three times in the rest of the half, the last coming at 6:27 with the score 30-17. VW cut it back to eight, 34-26, but UW-W went into the lockerroom leading 36-26.
Warhawk sophomore guard Cody Odegaard scored 17 points in the first half, hitting his first five three point attempts. Senior center Chris Davis scored ten points for Whitewater. Senior forward Donald Vaughn led the Marlins with ten.
Virginia Wesleyan scored the first point of the second half, lowering the deficit to nine, but that was the last time that UW-W did not hold a double digit lead. The Warhawks' lead reached 18 points four times in the half, the last, 76-58, with 0:40 left.
Whitewater shot 53% from the field, Virginia Wesleyan 43%. UW-W was 7-13 from beyond the arc, VW 2-10, and the Warhawks took advantage of free throw shooting, hitting 15-21 while Virginia Wesleyan went 10-20. Davis recorded his ninth double double of the season, scoring 33 and pulling down 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Alex Merg scored ten points and a game high seven assists. Odegaard ended with the 17 points from the first half, and also led both teams with three steals.
Virginia Wesleyan ends the year 27-4.
UW-W will be making its fourth final four appearance. The Warhawks finished fourth in 1983 when the finals were at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and returned a year later to win the 1984 title. UW-W also advanced to the final four in 1989, defeating Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) for the school's second Division III championship.