ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — No. 13 DePauw University brushed off an early deficit to defeat the Williams College women's basketball team, 57-47, at the St. Pete Classic today on the campus of Eckerd College.
The Tigers improved to 9-1 on the season while Williams slipped to 6-4.
Williams senior Amani Fernandez led all scorers with 17 points and she also had five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Lauren Vostal had nine points and 10 rebounds to gow ith three steals for the Ephs, while Kristin Fechtelkotter also scored nine points and notched four rebounds and three steals. Maya Howard and Emily Budde led the Tigers with 13 points each, while Sydney Kopp finished with 10.
"We didn't fight for as hard as we needed to for 40 minutes, that's the bottom line," Ephs' head coach Pat Manning said. "I think we let some of our offensive frustrations carry over to our defensive effort. It's a learning experience for our team, we're still workong on putting it all together for 40 minutes."
DePauw took control of the contest in the third quarter. After a Vostal lay-in with 7:21 to go tied the game at 27-27, the Tigers outscored Williams 12-2 over the remainder of the stanza. A Howard jumper with just under seven minutes left gave DePauw a 29-27 advantage. It was 31-27 when Lydia Zaleski hit a short jumper to cut the Ephs' deficit back to two, but in the final minutes of the quarter, Howard hit another jumper, Kylie Morris had a lay-in, and Howard supplied the backbreaker when she hit a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter with DePauw leading 39-29.
The Ephs got as close as 41-35 in the final stanza when Fernandez hit a jumper with 7:10 remaining. But again, the Tigers had the answer, constructing a 9-0 run that left them up 50-35 with only 3:46 to go. Kopp hit a three to start the run, Budde had a jumper and Morris finished it up with a lay-up.
The teams went into halftime tied 23-23 despite the Ephs owning a seven-point lead early in the second quarter. The Ephs trailed early 4-0 but played very well in the opening 10 minutes, taking a 7-6 lead with 6 minutes and 41 seconds left when Fernandez drained a three-pointer. Zaleski scored on the Ephs' next possession off an assist from Mikaela Topper for a three-point lead. Vostal then snared a defensive rebound whch led to a Fechtelkotter jumper for an 11-6 lead with 4:33 remaining.
DePauw bounced back to tie the game 11-all when Budde nailed a three-pointer off the wing. Williams led 14-13 with one minute lef tin the half when Fechtelkotter came up with a key steal which led to a Vostal lay-up. Fernandez then had a steal of her own and went coast-to-coast for the lay-in and an 18-13 lead with 31 seconds left in the quarter. The Ephs shot 53.8 percent (7 of 13) from the floor and held their own on the glass with each team grabbing nine rebounds.
The second quarter was much different as neither team shot particularly well. The Ephs had two seven-point leads early as Fechtelkotter hit a jumper eight seconds in for a 20-13 lead and then, after a DePauw bucket, followed with a lay-in off a Zaleski assist for a 22-15 lead with 8:46 to go.
But Williams would not get another field goal over the final 8:46 and would go the next 8:05 without a single point after the Tigers switched to a zone defense. The Ephs went 2 for 11 from the floor in the quarter and 0 for 9. But a Fechtelkotter free throw with 41 seconds left allowed them to go into the locker room at half all tied up.
"I still felt pretty good at halftime," Manning said. "We had a lot of open looks that did not go down and on a normal day they would have. But also, we did not react as well as we needed to hen they changed defenses."