GRANVILLE, Ohio-- It was a rematch of the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship and for three quarters it resembled last year's rough-and-tumble title game that was won by DePauw by six points. Unfortunately for Denison, a lopsided first quarter allowed the ninth-ranked Tigers jump out to a 20-3 lead. Denison outscored DePauw 45-42 over the final 30 minutes, but the Tigers still managed to leave Livingston Gymnasium with a 62-48 win.
Entering the second quarter trailing by 17, the Big Red could have easily rolled over and lived to fight another day. Instead, they adapted to DePauw's pace and turned the tables, matching the Tigers defensive intensity to outscore their opponents 19-14 in the second quarter. Denison committed only one turnover in the second quarter and got scoring from six different players.
DU's frenetic third quarter was capped off by an Atkinson buzzer-beater.
In the fourth quarter, Denison's Lauren Hofer connected on a jumper off a nice feed from Longbrake to cut the deficit to 56-46 with 1:35 to play. Forced to foul, DePauw went 6-for-8 down the stretch at the free throw line to stifle the Big Red's thoughts of an upset.
Atkinson led Denison with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Longbrake scored 13 points and had four rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench. Denison's bench outscored DePauw 34-8.
Maya Howard paced the Tigers with 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Melinda Franke added 10 points and 13 rebounds. DePauw won the rebounding battle 43-27 while shooting 46 percent from the floor. Denison shot 35 percent from the floor but struggled from long range, going 2-for-14.
DePauw improves to 15-1 and 7-0 in the NCAC while Denison drops to 8-8 and 3-4 in conference play. The Big Red will return to action on Wednesday (Jan. 17) when they travel to Hiram for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff against the Terriers.