Wednesday women: Titan fall

More news about: Hope | UW-Whitewater | Wartburg | Wheaton (Ill.)
Hannah Frazier scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting for Wheaton in the Thunder's 71-61 home win against Illinois Wesleyan.
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A few hours after the NCAA released its first set of regional rankings, Wheaton (Ill.) and UW-Whitewater picked up big wins over Titan teams, guaranteeing the next set will look different. Plus Hope beat arch rival Calvin at the buzzer and Wartburg secured the regular season IIAC title.

Wheaton ended No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan's 16-game winning streak and extended its own to 12 games by beating the Titans 71-61. After a close first quarter, Wheaton (18-4, 11-2) outscored Illinois Wesleyan 17-6 in the opening five minutes of the second quarter and held the Titans at arm's length the rest of the way. The Thunder shot 51 percent from the field and tallied 22 assists against Illinois Wesleyan's pressing defense. Illinois Wesleyan (18-3, 11-1) maintains a half-game lead on Wheaton in the CCIW race with a regular season split against the Thunder and one fewer loss in the conference standings.

No. 17 UW-Whitewater, which needed a buzzer beater against No. 18 UW-Oshkosh in their first meeting, avoided the drama with a 72-60 victory over the Titans to complete the regular season sweep. The Warhawks (19-3, 9-2) put five players in double figures, led by Brooke Trewyn who had 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Whitewater scored 22 points off 20 Titans turnovers. UW-Oshkosh (17-4, 7-4) slips two games back of Whitewater with three to play.

UW-La Crosse, which still has a chance to catch and pass the Warhawks, started a critical four-game stretch on the right foot. The Eagles shot 54 percent from the field, hit 12 three-pointers and handled UW-Eau Claire 76-55. UW-La Crosse (15-7, 8-3) is a game behind Whitewater and a game in front of Oshkosh and plays both of them in the next two weeks.

The NCAA released its first set of regional rankings on Wednesday afternoon which give some indication which teams are in line for at-large bids and hosting rights in the NCAA Tournament. UW-Whitewater fortified its first-place standing in the Central Region while eighth-ranked Wheaton should gain ground on second-ranked Illinois Wesleyan. 

No. 2 Wartburg defended its position as the top-ranked team in the West Region and secured its second straight IIAC title with a 63-54 victory over Luther. Miranda Murphy scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Morgan Neuendort chipped in seven points and 11 rebounds for the Knights (22-0, 13-0) who will be the top seed in the IIAC tournament.

No. 10 St. Thomas survived a scare in regulation and then finished off Augsburg in overtime, 70-66. Augsburg (11-12, 7-8) scored six straight late in the fourth quarter to grab a 62-58 lead with eight seconds left. The Tommies (20-2, 15-0) got a free throw from Hannah Spaulding, two missed free throws from Augsburg and a game-tying three from Lauren Fischer, sending the game to overtime.

No. 6 Hope, which sits atop the Great Lakes regional rankings, won a back-and-forth thriller against arch rival Calvin 70-69. In a game that had 17 lead changes, the Flying Dutch scored a buzzer-beating game winner on a basket by Francesca Buchanan off a beautiful inbound pass from Arika Tolbert with 1.4 seconds left. Watch the game-winning video below, courtesy of Hope College.

Outside the Top 25, Rose-Hulman clinched the top spot in the HCAC tournament without any trouble, downing Franklin 77-39. The Fightin' Engineers held the Grizzlies to 29 percent shooting (12-for-41) and extended their winning streak to 17 games.

UW-Superior did the same in the UMAC with a 59-43 win over Northwestern (Minn.). The Yellowjackets (19-4, 14-0) play second-place Bethany Lutheran on Saturday but have a three-game lead with only two to play. Superior remains undefeated in the UMAC since joining the conference in 2015-16.