March 6, 2009


Courtesy of Wis.-Whitewater

UW-Whitewater opened play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship tournament with a 69-59 win over Simpson College in a game played in Saint Joseph, Minnesota.  The Warhawks advance to Saturday's regional final, where UW-W, 23-4, will face the winner of Friday's second regional game between Ripon College, 17-8, and host The College of Saint Benedict, 23-4.  Saturday's tipoff is set for 7:30.  The winner of Saturday's regional final will advance to sectional play Friday-Saturday, March 13-14.

Trailing 5-2 early, which would prove to be Simpson's largest lead of the game, UW-W went on a 14-0 run to put their margin to 16-5 at 6:01 in the first half.  A three-pointer by Simpson's Katie Kitzman ended the run at 5:50.  Whitewater eventually built a fourteen point bulge, 28-14 with 2::04 left in the half.  The halftime score was 28-16.

Simpson used a a 5-0 spurt to close within seven, 32-25, with 17:41.  The Storm continued to whittle away at the lead, eventually closing to 54-51 on three point play by Maria Oliver.  Whitewater responded with a 6-0 run to make it 60-51 on a Dana Thompson jumper at 4:12.  The game see-sawed a couple of points either way the last four minutes, without affecting the outcome.

UW-W limited Simpson to 29% shooting from the floor, with UW-W hitting 41%.  Both teams sent a steady stream of players to the free throw line, with UW-W hitting 21-29 and Simpson 24-35.  The teams' up tempo style led to a total of 48 turnovers.

The Warhawks were led senior center Tiffany Morton, who compiled her school career record twenty-eighth double-double.  Morton led UW-W with 16 points and was the game's leading rebounder with 11.  Heidi Sonntag added 13 points, 11 in the second half, and Kelsey Hendrickson added 12.  Sonntage also had a game-high six assists, and Hendrickson led both squads with six steals.  The six steals is a season high for UW-W.

Simpson's Maria Oliver led all scorers with 20, hitting 7-11 from the floor.  Oliver also blocked three shots.  Carrie Larson chipped in with 12 points, and Whitney Franker led the Storm with nine rebounds.

Simpson ended the year 24-4.  UW-W has ended Simpson's season the last two years.  The Warhawks defeated Simpson 96-69 in the third round, sectional semifinal, in Whitewater, of the 2008 tourney.