Warhawks Advance to Final Four

More news about: UW-Whitewater

Hope College will be going home for the final four, but not like they would have wished after losing to UW-Whitewater 65-60 at Kachel Gym in Williams Center in Whitewater Saturday night.  UW-W, 25-6, advances to the final four, which will hosted by Hope in Holland, Michigan Friday-Saturday, March 15-16.  UW-W will face Amherst College, 31-1. 

"We're excited; they delivered." said Warhawk coach Kerri Carollo. "They  were maybe outmatched in a couple of positions, but they believed in each other."

A slow start for the two teams, Two UW-W turnovers and three missed jumpers by Hope, opened tonight's elite eight matchup .At 18:36,  a three pointer by junior guard Mary Merg ignited a 9-0 whitewater run that ballooned into a thirteen point lead over the next four minutes, making the score 17-4. UW-W's largest lead of the first half came at, 8:47, after a three point basket by junior guard Kaitlyn Thill, making the Hope deficit eighteen points, 30-12. Thill delivered the "lets have fun" message to her team before the game, and it showed in the first half. Hope clawed back into the game over the next five minutes and cut the lead to eight, 34-26, after a layup by senior guard Liz Ellis at 3:18. The Warhawks went in to the lockerroom with a thirteen point advantage, 39-26.

Whitewater shot 15-30 from the floor, including 4-5 from the three point line, and 5-5 from the free throw stripe, while Hope shot 9-28, 0-6 from three, and 8-13 from the free throw line.  Whitewater had the advantage in the rebounding department 22-14.

Thill led the Warhawks in the first half with eight points and five assists. Rebekah Llorens led the Flying Dutch with seven points.

The Warhawk's lead hovered around double digits for the first 15:30 of the second half until the Fying Dutch finally broke through with a 7-0 run with 4:16 left to play, making the score 58-56. a Merg three pointer, at 2:21, swung the momentum back to the Warhawks with a five point advantage, 61-56. a Ellis layup with two seconds left cut the lead to three, 63-60, but Merg sank two free throws with one second left to send the Warhawks to the final four for the first time since 2008.
Whitewater's advantage came from the three point line, making 6-12, compared to Hope's 2-14. The Warhawks also controlled the boards 49 to 34.

Hope was led by senior guard Courtney Kust and Llorens who both scored 11 points for the Flying Dutch. Whitewater had two players score 14 points, senior center Cortney Kumerow and Merg. Kumerow also pulled down ten rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Thill took game honors in assists with seven.

Hope ends the regular season 29-2. This will be the fourth time Hope has hosted the final four.  Last year they didn't make the tournament, but in 2008 and 2009 they also lost in the sectional finals, and the team they lost to, won the Division III national championship both times. In 2008 it was Howard Payne and in 2009 George Fox .

"This team showed resiliency got right there to the door step." said Hope head coach Brian Morehouse. 'Of course we're are disappointed, but the disappointing thing is not that we won't play next weekend, but that i don't have seven more days with these women."

"I don't want to take anything away from any of the other teams I've been a part of, but this group has a little angel on our shoulder," Carollo added.