UW-Whitewater overcomes slow start to advance past Hope to semifinals
Hope fell to UW-Whitewater 65-60 at Kachel Gym in Williams Center on Saturday.
"We're excited [our team] delivered," Warhawks' coach Keri Carollo said. "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 the quarterfinal matchup. At 18:36, a 3-pointer by junior guard Mary Merg ignited a 9-0 Whitewater run that ballooned into a 13-point lead during the next four minutes, making the score 17-4.
UW-W's largest lead of the first half came at 8:47 after a 3-point basket by junior guard Kaitlyn Thill, making the Hope deficit eighteen points 30-12. Hope clawed back into the game during 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 into the locker room with a 13-point advantage 39-26.
Whitewater shot 15-for-30 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from the 3-point line, and 5 of 5 from the free throw stripe, while Hope shot 9-for-28, 0 of 6 from three, and 8 of 13 from the free throw line. Whitewater had the advantage in the rebounding department 22-14.
The Warhawks' lead hovered in double digits for the first 15:30 of the second half until the Flying Dutch finally broke through with a 7-0 run with 4:16 left to play, making the score 58-56. A Merg 3-pointer at 2:21 swung the momentum back to the Warhawks with a five-point advantage 61-56. An 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 semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Whitewater's advantage came from the three point line, making 6 of 12, compared to Hope's 2 of 14. The Warhawks also controlled the boards 49-34.
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.