UW-Whitewater Warhawk men, women receive at-large bids

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Gazette staff
February 28, 2012
— The UW-Whitewater men’s and women’s basketball teams received at-large berths Monday to the NCAA Division III tournaments.

The Warhawk men host regional first- and second-round games Friday and Saturday. Whitewater (23-4) opens against Northwestern (Minn.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (25-2) face defending national champion University of St. Thomas (21-6) (St. Paul, Minn.) at 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Whitewater women (22-6) face Carthage College (20-7) on Friday at DePauw University in Green Castle, Ind. DePauw (26-1) faces Westminster College (Mo.), (20-7) in Friday’s second game.

The Whitewater men, ranked No. 8 in the D3hoops.com poll, won the regular-season Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, but lost the WIAC Tournament title game, and an automatic tournament berth to River Falls, 64-58, last Sunday.

River Falls, Stevens Point and Whitewater represent the WIAC teams in the men’s 64-team field. Before last season, the Warhawks advanced to the NCAA postseason in each of the previous three years.

Coach Pat Miller wants the Warhawks to concentrate on moving forward.

“We were just looking for a good experience for our guys,” Miller said of the Warhawks’ WIAC tournament run. “We had a great battle with (River Falls) the previous Saturday. We’ve had a number of games with NCAA tournament-like intensity.”

The Warhawks earned a 55-53 regular-season victory at River Falls on a Chris Davis jumper with five seconds remaining.

Miller said Northwestern is not afraid to launch three-point shots.

“They shoot the ball very well,” Miller said. “They don’t have great size. They are 6-5 across the front, and they have a strong shooting guard. They shoot 40 percent from three-point range.”

The Eagles won the UMAC tournament to earn their second straight NCAA berth. Northwestern won eight of its last nine games.

Northwestern and Whitewater have played four common opponents this season in La Crosse, Superior, Whitworth University and Hamline University. Whitewater went 4-1, while Northwestern was 0-4 with an average point differential of less than eight points.

The Whitewater women lost the WIAC Tournament title game, 80-61, to regular-season champ Stevens Point last Saturday. Carthage finished third in the College Conference of Illinois, and Whitewater finished third in the WIAC.

The Warhawks lead the series with the Lady Reds, 22-12, and the last meeting resulted in a 79-74 Carthage win on March 6, 2010 in an NCAA second-round game at in Whitewater. Whitewater is in its fifth straight NCAA tournament.

“It’s just like a fresh start,” said Kari Carollo. “We’re on the road in a different environment with different officials. It’s like a breath of fresh air.’’

Prior to losing to Stevens Point, the Warhawks won eight straight games.

“We were playing exceptionally well until Stevens Point,” Carollo said.

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