CENTER VALLEY, Pa. --- Host DeSales University used strong defensive pressure to key a 77-49 victory over Shenandoah University Friday night in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament.
DeSales (26-2) won its 21st straight contest by forcing 20 Shenandoah (16-14) turnovers in the opening 20 minutes that it converted into 18 points.
The Bulldogs led for all but the initial 12 seconds of the contest and used a 20-0 run that sandwiched the first quarter break to turn a 20-11 lead into to a 31-point advantage. Brianna Turner, who had four first half points, snapped the Hornets' nearly eight-minute scoreless streak with a jumper at 4:09.
Turner, who ended up leading SU with 14 points, kickstarted a 7-2 half completing run for her club with that jumper. DeSales took a 44-18 lead into the break.
The second half was virtually even as the Bulldogs outscored Shenandoah by just two, 33-31. In the third, Turner led the Hornets with four points while Jordan Sondrol and Olivia Weinel both had three.
After struggling to 33 percent shooting in the first half, the Hornets shot 63 percent (5-of-8) in the third.
Shenandoah outscored the Bulldogs 18-15 in the fourth.
"All the credit to DeSales," head coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft said. "We play teams that like to bring pressure, but we haven't seen pressure of that magnitude this year.
"What a great atmosphere tonight. Our fans made the trip and we really appreciated them supporting us. It helped show the team the gravity of the situation.
"This was a great experience for us and we are going to build upon this run."
- DeSales is now 7-0 lifetime vs. the Hornets
- Tonight's contest was the first meeting between the two teams since 1993
- Shenandoah is now 0-3 lifetime in NCAA Tournament games
- Tonight's loss comes 19 years to the day since SU dropped a NCAA first round contest at Roanoke