Yeowomen Head to NCAC Semifinals


Kellianne Doyle

Junior Abby Andrews catches a pass in Oberlin’s 52–41 victory over Kenyon College Feb. 8. In the Yeowomen’s 60–43 win against Hiram College in the NCAC quarterfinal Tuesday, Andrews matched a career-high 23 points.

Michaela Puterbaugh

Tuesday marked a pivotal point in Yeowomen basketball history as the squad, seeded fifth in the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament, defeated the fourth-seeded Hiram College Terriers 60–43 to become the first women’s basketball team to win a playoff game since 1999. With the win, Oberlin solidified a berth to the NCAC Semifinals today at 5 pm Greencastle, IN to face the DePauw University Tigers.

The Yeowomen came out strong, causing six Terrier turnovers and posting a 14–7 lead in just the first quarter. Junior forward Abby Andrews had a hot start, tying a career-high 23 points and registering seven rebounds. Andrews said maintaining a sense of calm was instrumental in her performance.

“Last year before our playoff game, I was really nervous and didn’t have my best performance, so before the game tonight, I tried to remind myself that it’s just another game, and I went into it with that mentality.” Andrews said. “I just reminded myself to focus on the things we’ve worked on in practice and the things we know about Hiram and not let myself get inside my head.”

Sophomore center Olivia Canning trailed behind Andrews, going six for six in shooting, notching 12 points, seven blocks and five rebounds.

Together, the Yeowomen were able to add another 14 points in the second quarter, advancing them to a 28–19 lead at intermission. Sophomore guard Alex Stipano contributed to the gain by cashing in her first three-pointer of the night amidst raucous cheers from the opposing crowd.

“We knew we had to stay composed with the crowd they had,” Stipano said. “Moving the ball and looking to get the best shot possible was critical in our success. By limiting the shot opportunities they had and capitalizing on the ones we made for ourselves, we were able to keep control of the game throughout the 40 minutes.”

The second half of the game was no different as the Yeowomen tallied another 15 points in the third quarter while the Terriers only registered nine. The final quarter of the game sealed the squad’s lead as the Terriers were unable to break their 13-point deficit. Although Hiram ended with less turnovers, the Terriers could not compete with the Yeowomen’s 51.1 shooting percentage and their dominance in rebounds.

Despite splitting games with Hiram in the regular season, Canning said the Yeowomen approached Tuesday’s matchup optimistically.

“Going into the game I was feeling pretty confident,” she said. “It could have been our last game, so I wanted to leave it all on the floor and walk away feeling proud of my effort. It helped that our team was so prepared for Hiram — we knew exactly what they were going to do.”

Now, the Yeowomen are hitting the road to take on DePauw for the third time this season. The teams last met in their final matchup of the regular season on Feb. 18, Oberlin’s Senior Day, which honored the career of the squad’s lone senior Briana Santiago. The top-seeded Tigers defeated the Yeowomen for the second time with a score of 60–41.

The Tigers have been a force in the conference as they are 24–2 overall and 15–1 in the NCAC. On Tuesday, DePauw rolled past eighth-seeded Wooster, 90–56.

DePauw enters the game with the best-scoring offense in the conference, averaging 68.7 points per game while allowing an NCAC-best 50.7 points to opponents. Despite the success the Tigers have had this season, the Yeowomen remain optimistic in using their size to their advantage.

“They are a really good defensive team but we are taller than them so getting touches inside is going to be essential for opening up our shooters,” Canning said. “DePauw is a nationally ranked team, so coming in as the underdogs, we have nothing to lose. I think that is a scary mindset to play against.”