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Tigers hold off Big Red in NCAC Championship game

Jordan Holmes  |  Photo by Russell Kramer
Jordan Holmes | Photo by Russell Kramer

GREENCASTLE, Ind.—Denison outscored DePauw over the final three-quarters, but a 21-0 run by the Tigers to close the first quarter proved to be the difference as DePauw held off the Big Red, 56-50 in the championship game of the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.

Denison started the game with two straight field goals to take a 5-0 lead.  The Tigers proceeded to score the next 21 points, 11 of which came from Emily Budde.

In the second quarter, DU regrouped as Jordan Holmes scored seven of her 15 points in the period.  The Big Red outscored the Tigers 17-10 and went into halftime trailing 31-22.

In the fourth, a 10-0 run by Denison tied the game at 43-43 with 3:46 to play.  Holmes accounted for both field goals during the run and the rest of the damage was done at the free throw line and on the defensive end.  During that stretch, DePauw missed eight-straight shots allowing Denison to claw back into the contest.

Melina Franke snapped DePauw out of their malaise with a bucket down low with 3:27 remaining.  That sparked a 7-0 spurt by the Tigers which gave them a 50-43 lead with 1:02 left.  Valesha Province was fouled on Denison's next possession and knocked down both free throws trimming the DePauw lead back to five.  The Tigers kept the door ajar after two missed free throws at the other end, but a Denison turnover after a defensive board by Alison Schafer forced the Big Red to foul.  The Tigers connected on four straight charity tosses to clinch the championship.

Holmes was named to the NCAC All-Tournament team for the fourth-straight season after scoring 15 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.  Her miraculous career at Denison ends with 1,456 points, 1,711 rebounds and 642 blocks.  She also broke her own NCAC Tournament record for blocked shots with 16 over the three-game span.

Schafer was also named to the All-Tournament team after her 13-point, seven rebound effort.

DePauw (26-2) was led in scoring by Budde who finished with 18 points.  Maya Howard followed with 12 points.

Denison (14-14) is just the second No. 6 seed to advance to the championship game of the NCAC Tournament in history.  The first was The College of Wooster in 1996.

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