UW-Whitewater women win to open NCAA tourney

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Gazette staff
Friday, March 7, 2014

The UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team fought back to keep its season alive on Friday night.

The Warhawks trailed in the second half but held Concordia-Moorhead to just 29 points after halftime in a 79-72 victory to open the Division III NCAA tournament in St. Paul, Minn.

It was the 230th victory for UW-W coach Keri Carollo, who passed Dianne Jones as the winningest coach in program history.

Carollo had to work for it, as her team gave up 43 points in the first half and trailed by three at halftime.

But the Warhawks put the clamps on after halftime, and particularly in the final four and a half minutes. They trailed 64-62 but outscored Concordia-Moorhead 17-8 down the stretch.

Whitewater took the lead for good on Mary Merg’s jumper with 3:28 left and iced the game at the free-throw line. The Warhawks were 22-for-30 from the stripe overall.

Merg led five Warhawks players in double figures with 16 points. Brodhead graduate Kristen Ruchti had 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Senior guard Kaitlyn Thill had 11 points, six assists and six steals.

UW-Whitewater advanced to the round of 32 and will face host St. Thomas—which beat Loras 52-49—at 7 p.m. tonight.

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