After a successful regular season, the Loras College women’s basketball team road comes to an end in Oshkosh, Wisconsin against the No. 19 DePauw University tigers. This was the first game of the NCAA Championships determining the regional semifinalist. This opportunity was given from a bid after losing the American Rivers Conference Tournament Championship against Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
“We were all so excited to get another chance to play and be with the seniors,” said sophomore forward Marissa Schroeder. “Seeing our name pop up on the bracket was so rewarding knowing that all we’ve done this season has paid off.”
This season was a special one for the women’s basketball team with an overall record of 22-7, tying the school record for wins in a season. On Friday, March 1, Loras fell to the Tigers 54-78.
The Duhawks were here to fight converting the first possession of the game to get on the board thanks to Schroeder winning the tip-off. Schroeder finished the first quarter with 10 of the 16 Duhawk points.
The Tigers also started out hot by out-scoring Loras by 5 points at the end of the first quarter. This momentum continued through the game, out-scoring the Duhawks every quarter of the game.
Loras tried battling back in the quarter when junior guard Riley Eckhart and redshirt junior guard Kari Fitzpatrick knocked down two three-pointers. However DePauw’s Sydney Kopp was hot beyond the arc as well tying her school’s record of 13 three-pointers made in a game.
“DePauw was a solid team and the game was a great learning experience to grow from,” said Schroeder. “Even though it didn’t end the way we wanted to, you have to look at the positive side that we were 1 of 64 teams that were still able to keep playing and that’s an accomplishment in itself.”
In the third quarter, the Duhawks defense was able to cut the lead down to 12 but Kopp was able to bury another three and lead into the fourth quarter pushing the game out of reach for Loras. First-year forward Kennedy Rankin was the last to score for the season sinking a three-pointer with 10 minutes left in regulation. Schroeder finished with 23 points while Kopp finished with 29 points, 24 of which were scored in the first half of the game.
“There were so many emotions going into the tournament,” said Schroeder. “I was so happy that we got the bid but even happier that I got another week to play with the team, especially the seniors.”
Loras was 19-45 from the field while DePauw was able to put up 30-66. The Tigers ran an impressing game statistically out rebounding (32-35), assists (11-14), and converting more points off turnovers (6-26).
“Special shout out and thanks to the seniors because we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without their leadership and ability to bring us together as a family,” said Schroeder.