Nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh was selected to host the first two rounds of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Women's Basketball Championship after securing the outright regular season and tournament titles in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).
UW-Oshkosh (24-3), ranked 14th in the nation by D3hoops.com, begins the tournament with a first round contest Friday (March 1) against Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (Calif.) (22-5). The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Kolf Sports Center.
The Oshkosh Regional gets underway with 19th-ranked DePauw University (Ind.) (24-4) playing Loras College (Iowa) (22-5) at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Friday's winners will meet for the Oshkosh Regional title at 7 p.m. Saturday (March 2) in Kolf Sports Center. Third and fourth round games of the NCAA postseason will be contested March 8-9.
UW-Oshkosh is back in the 64-team national tournament for the fifth time in six seasons and 15th overall. The Titans, the 1996 Division III champion and 1995 runners-up, are seeking to win their eighth regional title.
The Titans secured an automatic berth into the national tournament with a 69-40 victory over UW-Whitewater in the WIAC Championship title game Sunday (Feb. 24) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh, which sports an 11-1 home record this season, boasts a defense that ranks seventh in the nation by allowing 48.3 points per game. The Titans, who have held 18 opponents under 50 points this season, are also the WIAC leaders in field goal percentage (.431), turnovers per game (13.1), average scoring (+18.7) and rebounding (+7.0) margins, and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.13).
The balanced UW-Oshkosh offense, which has featured 10 different leading scorers this season, includes nine players averaging at least four points per game.
Senior center Isabella Samuels leads the 13-time WIAC champion Titans with 9.8 points per game on a league-best .692 field goal percentage.
Titan guards Chloe Pustina and Olivia Campbell are averaging 6.3 and 5.9 points per game, respectively. Campbell, a junior, averages 4.0 rebounds, a team-high 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals a game while junior Pustina has dished out 65 assists and recorded 25 steals.
Spearheading UW-Oshkosh's efforts off the bench are sophomore guard Leah Porath, senior guard Jessie Rabas and sophomore center Karsyn Rueth, who are each averaging at least 15 minutes and five points per game. Rabas has drained a team-high 35 3-pointers.
Pomona-Pitzer Colleges is in the NCAA postseason for the 11th time and first since 2002. The Sagehens earned an automatic berth to the Division III Championship following a 60-57 win at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (Calif.) during the championship game of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Tournament.
The Sagehens, who finished third at the inaugural Division III Championship in 1982, are averaging 73.1 points per game this season and allowing 64.1 per contest. Pomona-Pitzer Colleges rank ninth nationally with a .757 free throw percentage and led the SCIAC in scoring, field goal percentage (.421), made 3-pointers (202), 3-point percentage (.366), assists per game (15.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19).
Pomona-Pitzer Colleges are led by a trio of freshman guards in Carly Leong, Kamil English and Cameron Edward. Leong is scoring 16.1 points per game while English and Edward are averaging 9.9 and 9.1, respectively. Edward has made a team-high 58 3-pointers at a .408 rate in mostly a reserve role.
Completing the Sagehens' most recent starting lineup are sophomore guard Renae Tamura at 7.9 points per game, senior guard Keilani Ikehara at 7.4 and freshman forward Amara Chidom at 6.3. Chidom is pulling down a team-leading 6.9 rebounds per game.
Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, which relied on eight players to win the SCIAC Tournament title, also features freshman reserves Madison Quan, a guard, at 6.1 points per contest and forward Vanessa Hsia at 4.1.
Sagehens senior forward Anita Romero averaged 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a starter over the first 17 games but has not played since Jan. 14.
DePauw University is one of the most decorated Division III programs in the country, winning national titles in 2007 and 2013 and making the tournament field for the 20th time.
The Tigers, who enter the Division III Championship on a nine-game winning streak, claimed an automatic berth into the NCAA postseason via a 61-50 victory over Denison University (Ohio) during the title game of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).
DePauw University is averaging 68.1 points per game and allowing just 52.5 per contest as the Tigers are the NCAC leaders in field goal percentage (.424), rebounds per game (41.4), average rebounding margin (+10.9), turnovers per contest (12.8) and 3-point percentage (.344).
Junior guard Sydney Kopp and senior guard Maya Howard pace the Tigers, averaging 15.5 and 15.3 points per game, respectively. Howard ranks second in the country with a .889 free throw percentage and has a team-high 107 assists and 44 steals. Kopp has connected on 64 3-pointers.
Sophomore forward Claire Keefe is adding 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for DePauw University, which also receives 7.2 points per contest from freshman reserve guard Mya Shannon.
Loras College is seeking the program's first Division III Championship victory in its fourth appearance and first since 2016. The Duhawks received an at-large berth into this year's tournament after falling, 73-61, to Wartburg College (Iowa) in the American Rivers Conference (ARC) Tournament title game.
The Duhawks enter the Oshkosh Regional with one of the most efficient offenses in the country, averaging 77.4 points per game behind a .455 field goal percentage and a .379 3-point percentage that both rank eighth in the nation.
Loras College is led by a starting lineup that all averages better than eight points per game, including sophomore forward Marissa Schroeder with a team-best 15.3 scoring average and junior guard Riley Eckhart at 12.8. Eckhart has made a team-high 64 3-pointers.
Duhawks junior guard Kari Fitzpatrick, who is shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range, averages 12.1 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game while junior guard Macenzie Kraemer and senior forward Hanna Stokes chip in 11.0 and 8.6 points per contest, respectively. Kraemer is the team leader with 103 assists and 74 steals.
Courtney Schnoor headlines Loras College's efforts of the bench with 6.6 points per game.
In their most recent meetings, UW-Oshkosh ousted DePauw University from the 2017 Division III Championship by a 64-49 score during the second round in Kolf Sports Center and also defeated Loras College, 83-75, during the 2018-19 season opener Nov. 9 in Oshkosh. The Titans will be playing Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for the first time.
UW-Oshkosh made its prior trips to the NCAA postseason in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Titans claimed regional titles in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2014 and 2017.
Tickets for the Oshkosh Regional can be purchased at Kolf Sports Center. Prices for each day are $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for students aged 3-18 or with a valid college ID. Children aged 2 and under are free.