Tickets punched: Warhawks men, women in Final Four
STEVENS POINT—The UW-Whitewater men’s basketball team will get a crack at its second national championship in three years.
Junior guard KJ Evans scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half on Saturday, where the Warhawks dominated in a 74-51 thrashing of Emory University in an NCAA Division III national quarterfinal game.
Evans, a Beloit Memorial High graduate, made 10 of 17 field goals and 7 of 10 free throws. He also added 11 rebounds to lead Whitewater back to the Final Four.
The Warhawks were eliminated in the first weekend of tournament play last year after winning it all in 2012.
Whitewater shot just 38.5 percent in the first half against Emory and trailed by one point at halftime.
Everything shifted from there, as the Warhawks wore down a team that needed overtime to beat host UW-Stevens Point, the No. 1 team in the nation, in a Sweet 16 game one night earlier.
Whitewater held Emory to just one basket in the first six-plus minutes of the second half as the Warhawks grabbed the lead and never looked back. Emery was 8-for-25 from the field in the second half, including 2 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Evans nearly outscored the entire opposing team in the second half by going 7 of 10 from the field. He helped the Warhawks double up the Eagles in the paint, outscoring them 48-24.
Point guard Quardell Young added 12 points and six rebounds for Whitewater, which will play in the Final Four at Salem, Va., beginning Friday night.
Whitewater faces Illinois Wesleyan at 5 p.m. CT. Both teams are 27-4.
Amherst and Williams will play in the other semifinal at 7:30. The winners will meet for the national championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
UW-WHITEWATER 74, EMORY UNIVERSITY 51
Whitewater (75)—Merg, 2-3-8; Yuong, 6-0-12; Evans, 10-7-27; Hearn, 2-4-8; E. Bryson, 3-0-6; Odegaard, 2-1-6; D. Bryson, 1-0-2; Egan, 1-0-2; Stevens, 1-0-3. Totals: 28-15-74.
Emory (51)—Florin, 4-0-8; Moore, 3-0-7; Foster, 2-3-7; Trawick, 1-0-2; Davis, 2-9-14; Rao, 1-0-3; Terry, 1-0-2; Schattie, 4-0-8. Totals: 18-12-51.
Whitewater 25 49—74
Emory 26 25—51
Three-point goals—Whitewater 3 (Merg, Odegaard, Stevens); Emory 3 (Moore, Davis, Rao). Free throws missed—Whitewater 4; Emory 6. Total fouls—Whitewater 14; Emory 23. Fouled out—Moore, Davis.
WOMEN IN FINAL FOUR FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON
GREENCASTLE, Ind.—The UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team is headed to the Final Four for the second consecutive year.
The Warhawks used a strong start to the second half on Saturday to race away with an 88-71 victory over host DePauw in an Elite Eight game.
UW-Whitewater will make its fourth NCAA Division III Final Four appearance. It was the national runner-up a year ago, losing to DePauw in the title game.
The Warhawks erased those memories in the first four minutes after halftime on Saturday.
They led 34-32 coming out of the locker room but used a 12-0 run to break the game open. Brodhead graduate Kristen Ruchti helped fuel the stretch, making a pair of buckets and a free throw.
Ruchti finished with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds.
Whitewater led by double figures the rest of the night.
Senior guard Mary Merg scored 21 points, including a 10-for-11 night from the free-throw line. UW-W was 23 of 25 from the line overall, including 16 of 18 in the second half.
Senior Alex Gasaway had 20 points to pace DePauw.
Whitewater moves on to face the winner of Whitman and Thomas More. Those two teams played in a national quarterfinal game late Saturday night that had not ended as of the Gazette’s deadline.
Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham will face Tufts University in the other semifinal.
UW-Stevens Point will host the Final Four weekend, which begins on Friday.
UW-WHITEWATER 88, DEPAUW UNIVERSITY 71
Whitewater (88)—Thill, 2-7-12; Mandrell, 5-0-10; Burton, 3-0-9; Merg, 5-10-21; Ruchti, 11-2-24; Olsen, 3-4-12. Totals: 29-23-88.
DePauw (71)—Trees, 9-0-18; Douglas, 2-2-6; Gasaway, 10-0-20; Ross, 1-4-6; Stephens, 4-1-9; Ondik, 3-2-9; Abendroth, 1-0-3. Totals: 30-9-71.
Whitewater 34 54—88
DePauw 32 39—71
Three-point goals—Whitewater 7 (Thill, Burton 3, Merg, Olsen 2); DePauw 2(Ondik, Abendroth). Free throws missed—Whitewater 2; DePauw 4. Total fouls—Whitewater 15; DePauw 21. Fouled out—Douglas, Ross.