(HOLLAND, Mich.) – The 25th-ranked Carnegie Mellon University women's basketball team continued its historic season with a 68-65 victory in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship against 14th-ranked Ohio Northern University. The Tartans are now 21-6 on the season which ties the school record for wins in a season with the 1990-91 team.
Another exciting finish for the Tartans was in the cards after they relinquished a lead they held for more than 36 minutes with just 2:32 to go. But resiliency showed when the Cardinal and Gray retook the lead on a layup by junior Jackie Hudepohl (Saratoga, Calif./Lynbrook (Colgate)) and held it for the final two minutes for the history-making win.
The Tartans shot 53.8% in the first quarter while holding the Polar Bears to 31.6% but had just a three-point lead after turning the ball over seven times. Two free throws by Hudepohl gave the Tartans their largest lead of the period at 13-6 with 5:06 to go. Hudepohl and Amy Bullimore of the Polar Bears led all scorers at the quarter break with eight points apiece.
Rebounding was factor for the Tartans in the second period as they grabbed 11 defensive rebounds while the Polar Bears made just 5-of-20 attempts from the floor. The Tartans put nine shots in the basket and pushed their three-point advantage to 14 when senior Liza Otto (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) drained a three-pointer from the left wing for the last basket of the half, giving the Tartans a 39-25 lead at the break.
Hudepohl opened the second half with a jumper in the paint but a 14-2 run by the Polar Bears cut the Tartans lead to four with 4:56 to go in the third quarter. Back-to-back three-pointers by Britt Lauck and Carly Thomas closed the run as freshman Jenn Mayberger (Chesterfield, Mo./Cor Jesu Academy) banked in a jumper to end the scoring drought by the Cardinal and Gray.
The Tartans closed the third with an 11-6 run to hold a 10-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
A 14-5 run through the first six minutes of the final period pulled the Polar Bears to within one point, 61-60 on two free throws by Bullimore. Bullimore then gave Ohio Northern their first lead since the first bucket of the game on a jumper in the paint with 2:32 to play.
The Tartans answered and retook the lead on the next possession when Hudepohl drove the baseline and banked in a jumper in front of the hoop. After a defensive rebound by Otto gave the Tartans back the ball, Mayberger found Murphy down low for a layup and a three-point Tartan lead.
Murphy put the Tartans up four with the front end of a two-shot foul but watched as Thomas drained three foul shots to cut their lead to one with 19 seconds to play.
Poss was fouled with 12 seconds left and made one-of-two free throws but Otto grabbed the board on her miss and was fouled, sending her to the line with a two-point lead. Otto made the first but missed the second leaving an opportunity for the Polar Bears to tie the game, however, a last second three-pointer by Thomas hit the rim and bounced to the floor advancing the Tartans to the sectional round of the NCAA Championship.
Hudepohl led the Tartans with 20 points while Murphy tallied 17 and became the program's all-time leading scorer with her 11th point of the game and now has 1,602 career points. Poss grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds to go with 12 points while Otto dropped in 11 points. Mayberger scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds to go with three assists.
Bullimore finished with 25 points and 16 boards while Thomas recorded 17 points for the Polar Bears.
The Tartans will next face a familiar University Athletic Association foe Washington University in St. Louis on Friday, March 11 at a time and place to be determined.