ALLIANCE, Ohio — For the second consecutive year Illinois Wesleyan has advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament after a 77-69 victory against Carthage on Saturday night.
The Titans roared out to an early 14-0 lead before the Lady Reds scored a free throw and the Titans held Carthage from getting a field goal until 10:09 to play in the half when a 3-pointer by Allison Groessel made the score 21-7. The Titans, with 18 first-half points from Olivia Lett, coasted into the locker room at intermission with a 36-24 lead.
But the Lady Reds stormed back in the second period, shooting 60 percent (18-of-30). Carthage started the second half with a 9-3 run to get within six at 39-33 and closed to within four at 42-38 after Dani Ripkey knocked in a 3-pointer with 16:23 to go. The Lady Reds got within two points a couple of times — 44-42 and 48-46 — before the Titans stemmed the tide and went on a 12-3 run of their own to claim a 60-49 lead.
For the game, Illinois Wesleyan shot 42 percent from the field (25-of-60) and made 10-of-28 from 3-point range, while Carthage shot 43 percent (23-of-53) and made 7-of-16 from 3-point territory.
The Titans were 17-of-19 from the free throw line while Carthage made just 16-of-28 free throws (57 percent).
Carthage had a 41-35 rebounding edge and committed 18 turnovers to 12 by IWU.
Lett finished with a game-high 24 points and had 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Lexi Baltes scored 12 points with four rebounds while Melissa Gardner added 11 points.
Diana Jacklin led Carthage with 18 points while Dani Ripkey scored 17 and Cailee Corcoran added 13 points.