PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball Heads To NCAA Tournament, Facing DePauw In First Round

Posted on March 2nd, 2017 by

Gustavus vs. DePauw
Date: Friday, March 3
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Oshkosh, Wis. | Kolf Sports Center
Live Coverage: Stats | Video | Audio (WRST Oshkosh)


ST. PETER, Minn. – The No. 14/19-ranked Gustavus women’s basketball team is set to make its sixth appearance in the national tournament, facing No. 11-ranked DePauw University in Oshkosh, Wis on Friday. The Gusties earned one of 21 at-large bids in the 64-team national field and are in a four-team regional bracket that also includes the No. 13/16-ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Calvin College. The winners of Friday’s games play each other at 7 p.m. Saturday, in hopes of advancing to one of four sectional sites.


Last time out: The Gusties fell at the University of St. Thomas on Sunday by a score of 66-49 in the MIAC Playoff Championship, suffering their second loss of the season. Both losses came to the undefeated Tommies. RECAP

Gustavus NCAA Tournament History: The Gusties will be making their sixth all-time national tournament berth in program history, last making an appearance in 2008 when they lost to Simpson College 73-64 in the first round. Gustavus has an overall record of 1-5 in the tournament, its only victory coming in a first round matcup against Loras College in 2003.

The Series: Gustavus will be facing DePauw University for the first time in women’s basketball program history. If the Gusties hold off DePauw for a win on Friday, a Saturday matchup with UW-Oshkosh or Calvin will also mark the first time facing either opponent.

Scouting DePauw: The Tigers hold a 26-2 record and are making their 14th straight NCAA appearance and 18th all-time. They most recently defeated Denison University in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament, earning an automatic bid into the tournament. The Tigers are two-time national champions, led by Head Coach Kris Huffman, in her 24th season at the helm. Entering the 2016-17 season, Huffman owned a 544-144 career record and a .827 winning percentage that ranked eighth among all level NCAA active coaches. The Tigers rank in the top-20 among the national leaders in scoring defense (50.8), rebound margin (11.8), winning percentage (92.9), and turnovers per game (13.6). Sophomore guard Maya Howard leads DePauw offensively, averaging 12.4 points per game. Junior forward Melinda Franke leads on the glass, averaging 6.3 rebounds a game.


Scouting UW-Oshkosh: The Titans earned an at-large bid to make their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. UW-Oshkosh finished the regular season as the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) champion, earning its first title since 2006. The Titans most recently fell to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the WIAC Conference Championship game, losing their first home game of the season and moving their record to 24-3 overall. UW-Oshkosh owns an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 25-12 and owns one national title, winning it all in 1996. The Titans are the national leaders in turnovers per game, turning over the ball just 11.9 times a game. Senior guard Taylor Schmidt leads UW-Oshkosh offensively, averaging 11.1 points per game while senior forward Alex Richard leads on the glass, posting a clip of 6.1 rebounds a game.


Scouting Calvin: Calvin College holds a record of 22-5, returning to the NCAA postseason for the 17th time after missing last season. The Knights have an all-time record of 21-16 during NCAA Tournament play. Calvin earned an at-large bid after finishing third in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) before falling in the conference championship game. The Knights rank within the top-20 among the national leaders in scoring defense (51.5), field goal percentage (44.0), rebound margin (10.2), and three-point field goal percentage (35.5). Junior guard Ali Spayde leads Calvin offensively, averaging 16.6 points per game and also ranks in the top-50 nationally in free throw percentage (82.0) and minutes played (56,700). Senior forward Anna Timmer also leads the Knights, ranking inside the top-20 nationally in rebounds, field goal percentage, and double-doubles. Her 19 double-doubles ranks fifth most in the nation.


In the polls: In the latest poll, Gustavus fell from No. 13 to No. 14 and moved from No. 17 to No. 19 in the WBCA Coaches Poll. In the regional rankings, the Gusties remain at No. 3 in the West.

Among the National Leaders: Out of 440 teams in NCAA Division III women’s basketball, Gustavus sits near the top in multiple statistical rankings. The 78.4 free throw percentage is third best in the nation, the 45.8 field goal percentage ranks third, the 17.5 assists per game ranks seventh best, and the 92.6 winning percentage is tied for eighth best. Miranda Rice (Jr., Forest Lake, Minn.) ranks within the top-20 in the nation in field goal percentage (56.9%), and field goals made (178). Mikayla Miller (Jr., Goodhue, Minn.) ranks among the top-50 in the country in assists, steals, and free throw percentage.

Gustavus notables:

– Mikayla Miller leads the Gusties offensively, averaging 16.9 points per game. Miranda Rice ranks behind Miller, averaging 16.2 points per game while leading in field goal percentage, shooting 56.9 percent.

– Gustavus finished the regular season with a program record 24 wins and record .960 winning percentage.

– The Feb. 18th senior day win marked Head Coach Laurie Kelly’s 90th career win in her fifth season at Gustavus.

– The Gusties tied a program record with 25 wins in a season in the MIAC Playoff Semifinal win over Bethel University. Another win would stand as the most wins in program history, at 26.

– In the MIAC title loss at St. Thomas, Hannah Howard (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) played in her 100th career game in Black and Gold.

– Mikayla Miller posted two steals at St. Thomas to set a program record for most steals in a season with 84, breaking Colleen Ruane’s record of 83 steals during the 2011-12 season.

Justine Lee (So., Dawson, Minn.) played a career-high 38 minutes at St. Thomas.

Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune: She loves the Tommies, but now she’d love to beat them


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