Ripon Wins MWC Tournament, Punches Ticket To NCAA Tourney

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RIPON, Wis. - Ripon's women's basketball team defeated Monmouth College 55-48 in Saturday's Midwest Conference Tournament Championship Game to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division-III Tournament for the first time in 10 years. The victory improves the Red Hawks' home record to 12-1 this season, while extending their current winning streak to nine games. They enter next weekend's NCAA Tournament having won 16 of their last 17 games, as they have lost just once since December 11.

The MWC's top scoring defense prevailed over the conference's top scoring offense, holding Monmouth (19-8) to single digits in each of the first two quarters in a game which Ripon (19-8) never trailed. The Fighting Scots, who ranked among the top 30 teams in Division-III in shooting, were held to just 21 percent (6-28) in the first half. Leading by three with four minutes left in the second quarter, Ripon finished the first half by scoring the final five points to take a 22-14 lead into halftime.

The second half saw the Red Hawks tickle the twine to the tune of 58 percent (11-19) shooting. Ripon began the second half on a 12-2 run, keyed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Jesi Nay and Natalie Geiger. The Red Hawks entered the final quarter with a 10-point lead, but saw that dwindle to four points with one and a half minutes remaining. That would be all the closer Monmouth would get however, as Ripon converted six of eight free throws in the final minute to seal the victory and keep their season alive.

Ripon received very balanced scoring, with four players in double figures. Senior Laurissa Johnson led the team with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Geiger recorded career-highs of 12 points and five assists, to go along with four rebounds. Nay added 11 points and five boards, while Senior Maggie Oimoen chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds, and four blocked shots. That gives Oimoen 1,307 career points, making her only the second player in program history to score more than 1,300 points, and the first Ripon player to record 1,300 points and 600 rebounds in a career. She is now just 20 points shy of Ripon's career scoring record (1,327), which has stood for 21 years.

Monmouth was led by Carley Turnbull's 16 points and seven rebounds (three offensive), while Becca Gallis added 11 points and two assists. Allie Meyers chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds (six offensive) off the bench, while shooting 4-of-5 from the field.

This marks Ripon's fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Red Hawks will learn their fate on Monday when their opponent and location will be revealed during the NCAA Division-III selection show. Please continue to check for further details as they become available.