HOLLAND, Mich. – Upon scoring the final points of her college basketball career Saturday night, DePauw’s Ellie Pearson was promptly knocked to the floor at DeVos Fieldhouse. The hardwood at Hope College had become extremely familiar to Pearson as she saw it up close several times Saturday night during the Tigers’ victory against Wisconsin-Whitewater in the national championship.
She landed on her head battling for a defensive rebound in the first half and also was knocked down on the offensive end. Midway through the second half, the left-handed Pearson began clutching her left hand and with 7:39 left to play the Tigers’ training staff taped together her left ring and middle fingers.
For all of her trouble, Pearson was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I was getting a little irritated with that,” Pearson said. “This was an extremely physical game, but you have to expect that at the national tournament level. I think I actually broke my finger, my left ring finger, and being a lefty that’s not very fun.”
|DIII WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMP.|
|Final: DePauw wins title | Highlights Photo Gallery|
|Feature: Pearson’s finale at DePauw|
|Championship Preview: Dominant squads to clash in semis|
|Feature: Two buzzer-beaters send UW-W to championship|
|Feature: DePauw overcomes largest deficit of season|
|Brackets: Interactive | Printable|
|Scoreboard | Championship Info|
Pearson, a native of Madison, Wis. who scored a team-high 15 points on Friday night in the Tigers’ semifinal victory against Williams, scored 14 in Saturday’s national championship, the final points of her career coming with exactly one minute remaining in the game.
“I feel like I’m in a dream,” Pearson said after the game. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s amazing and I’m so proud. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with any other team. Kate [Walker] and Kat [Molloy] are my best friends. To finish undefeated [34-0] and No. 1 is incredible. I can’t find the words to describe it.”
DePauw coach Kris Huffman can only smile when talking about Pearson.
“She is an amazing athlete,” Huffman said. “The thing about Ellie is that we say she has a motor that doesn’t stop. She did her best job on defense and rebounding, but in the last two weeks she has become a scoring machine. She is so competitive; she wants every rebound and wants to guard the best player. She is a coach’s dream. A big part of why we’re here is Ellie Pearson.”
A political science major who interned at a law firm last summer, Pearson hopes to gain some work experience for a couple of years before enrolling in law school. “I like interacting with people,” Pearson said, “and I have aspirations to maybe go to law school.”
Law school or not, Huffman knows Pearson will find success.
“She has so many interests and she is so good with people,” Huffman said. “It will be interesting to see what she ends up doing with her life. Ellie brings a lot of sunshine to everyone’s life.”