2nd round: There’s something about Mary

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Washington and Lee celebrates after defeating Catholic to clinch the program’s first ever Sweet 16 trip.
Photo by Sideline Media

Washington and Lee super sophomore Mary Schleusner continued her surreal run, leading the Generals to their first ever Sweet 16, while No. 7 Wartburg and No. 17 Johns Hopkins won thrillers in Saturday night’s NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament action.

No. 19 Washington and Lee defeated No. 11 Catholic, 80-70, behind another amazing performance by Schleusner. The Generals seized control early, outscoring the Cardinals 27-16 in the first quarter. Catholic fought back within five at 53-48 with three minutes left in the third quarter, but the Generals restored the lead to double digits early in the fourth quarter. Schleusner’s three-point play gave Washington and Lee (28-2) a 68-54 lead midway through the fourth quarter, and the Generals cruised from there.

One night after scoring 45 points and setting a Division III tournament record for rebounds in a game, Schleusner racked up 26 points, 24 rebounds and seven blocks against Catholic (26-3). She now has the two highest single-game rebounding totals (29 and 24) and set those marks on consecutive nights. Over the last three games, Schleusner has averaged 35 points, 27 rebounds, and six blocks.

The best finish of the night came in Newport News, Virginia where No. 17 Johns Hopkins edged No. 4 Christopher Newport, 77-75, ending the Captains’ 54-game home winning streak.

With the game tied at 70 and two minutes to play, Johns Hopkins guard Macie Feldman converted a three-point play to give the Blue Jays the lead. Greta Miller followed with a layup that pushed JHU’s lead to five, but Gabbi San Diego and Camille Malagar scored five points and pulled Christopher Newport even again with 28 seconds to play. Johns Hopkins got the ball to Michaela O’Neil who was fouled, and she made both free throws. Christopher Newport still had a chance to tie the game, and the Captains got three shots in the closing seconds but missed them all, with the last one blocked by Miller.

Four Johns Hopkins starters scored double figures led by O’Neil who had 18 for the Blue Jays (25-3). Malagar tallied 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting for Christopher Newport (27-1).

The Top 25 matchup between No. 7 Wartburg and No. 16 Illinois Wesleyan also came down to the wire before the Knights edged the Titans, 62-59. Wartburg took a 55-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter on Sara Faber’s three-pointer. The Titans responded with a 12-1 run capped by six straight points from Lauren Huber. Illinois Wesleyan cut the deficit all the way down to one with 51 seconds remaining, but the Knights scored four straight and held off IWU for the final 10 seconds.

Wartburg (27-2) made 12 three pointers in 29 attempts with six of them coming from Britney Young. Huber scored 21 points for Illinois Wesleyan whose season ends at 23-5.

Baldwin Wallace followed Friday night’s tight first round victory by blasting No. 24 SUNY New Paltz, 65-42. After the two teams combined for 12 points in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets erupted in the second, outscoring the Hawks 23-7 and taking control of the game. Baldwin Wallace (22-6) shot 42 percent from the field and 53 percent from three-point range. Caely Ressler scored 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting with four 3-pointers in 27 minutes.

No. 23 UW-Stout led from start to finish in a 61-40 victory over Puget Sound in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Blue Devils held Puget Sound to 24 percent shooting and as many turnovers as field goals (16). Raegan Sorenson scored 18 points and grabbed 12 boards for UW-Stout (23-7), which has now won five consecutive playoff games away from home, between the WIAC tournament and the NCAA tournament.

No. 6 Scranton came from behind to defeat Ohio Northern, 60-54, and advance to the Sweet 16. Ohio Northern scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and led the Lady Royals, 46-43. Scranton responded with an 8-0 run capped by Maddy Ryan’s jumper. The Lady Royals put the game away with another 6-0 that staked them to a 57-49 lead with 27 seconds remaining. Kaci Kranson notched 17 points, six rebounds, and three assists for Scranton (27-2).

No. 12 Hope led almost wire-to-wire at DePauw and eliminated the Tigers, 70-55. The Flying Dutch outscored DePauw 40-20 in the paint and had a 27-11 bench scoring advantage. Sydney Vis paced Hope (26-3) with 22 points and five steals.

The last three undefeated teams in Division III women’s basketball stayed that way with comfortable wins.

No. 1 New York University rolled past no. 15 DeSales, 93-59, on the strength of 52 percent three-point shooting and an ultra-efficient performance from forwards Morgan Morrison and Natalie Bruns. The two All-Americans combined for 37 points on 15-for-20 shooting, 18 rebounds and seven blocks for NYU (27-0).

No. 2 Transylvania defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 70-55, and took its winning streak to 62 games, the third longest in Division III women’s basketball history. Sadie Wurth led the Pioneers (29-0) with 25 points and eight rebounds, and the Transy defense held OWU All-American Kasey Schipfer to 12 points in 31 minutes.

No. 3 Rhode Island College held St. John Fisher shot 27 percent and rolled over the Cardinals, 66-44. The Anchorwomen broke open a close game with a strong third period and then pulled away in the fourth, outscoring St. John Fisher by 20 after the half. Angelina Nardolillo finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes for Rhode Island College (29-0).

For the most part, the home teams had their way in Saturday’s second round games.

No. 10 Hardin-Simmons won the Texas sectional by overwhelming Trinity (Texas), 84-62, in Abilene. After a close first quarter, the Cowgirls erupted for 27 points in the second on 8-for-16 shooting and six 3-pointers. Hardin-Simmons (26-3) finished with 14 three-pointers on 35 attempts and outrebounded the Tigers by 19. The Cowgirls will likely head north to New York City to face NYU next Friday night.

In Wisconsin, No. 18 UW-Oshkosh hit 12 three-pointers and dominated Trine, 74-48. Bridget Froehlke poured in 25 points, shooting 7-for-7 from three, and the Titans shot 63 percent from three as a team. UW-Oshkosh (23-5) was also perfect from the foul line (12 for 12).

No. 9 UW-Whitewater also advanced with ease, as the Warhawks shot 60 percent in an 89-65 win over No. 20 Millikin. Kacie Carollo picked up a triple-double with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and fellow All-American Aleah Grundahl dropped in 26 points for UW-Whitewater (25-4). Millikin All-American Elyce Knudsen scored 30 points but needed 34 shots to do so, and the rest of the Big Blue had 14 field goals combined.

The two remaining NESCAC teams both advanced with home wins in Maine. Morgan Kennedy scored 22 points and Sarah Hughes came off the bench to add 18 more in Bates’ 79-66 win over Widener. The Bobcats outscored the Pride 21-3 from behind the arc, and Bates (24-5) outrebounded Widener by 19. Mia Robbins scored 26 points for Widener (24-5).

No. 8 Bowdoin pulled away from Mass-Dartmouth in the fourth quarter for a 67-59 victory over the Corsairs. The Polar Bears opened the final period with a two-point lead that quickly went to five on Maria Belardi’s three-pointer and then seven a couple of minutes later on Callie Godrey’s layup. Mass-Dartmouth (24-5) hung tough, but the Polar Bears made all six of their free throws in the final minute to ice the game. Sydney Jones had a triple-double for Bowdoin (27-2) with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

No. 14 Smith gave New England a fourth team in the Sweet 16 since the Pioneers defeated Messiah, 69-61. Smith led for much of the game and had a 40-28 scoring advantage in the paint. Jessie Ruffner scored 29 points on 13-for-18 shooting for Smith (27-3), which had its top six players log all but four minutes.

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