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Women’s Basketball: Oilers fall short in NCAA tourney opener

Staff Writer
ASHLAND — Jim Wiedie couldn’t have asked for a better effort.
It was the same kind of hard play the University of Findlay women’s basketball coach has seen all year long.
Yet, third-ranked Drury ultimately was too much for the Oilers to overcome.
The Panthers led the entire second half and held off Findlay for a 76-72 win in the opening round of the Division II national tournament Friday at Kates Gymnasium.
“Hell of a game,” Wiedie said. “I thought our kids battled. I thought our kids competed.
“That’s been their M-O this entire season. There’s never been a day in practice, a game this season where I’ve walked out saying ‘We don’t play very hard.”
The Oilers (22-8) were making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013.
Drury (30-2) will meet Lewis in the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. today at Ashland.
“They’re a great, gritty ball team,” Drury coach Molly Miller said of Findlay. “Just really got after us at both ends. They’re tough to guard. They’re a tough matchup for us.”
Elissa Ellerbrock led UF with 16 points off the bench, including seven in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a type of game that suits Elissa,” Wiedie said. “Elissa is a transition player, a one-on-one player.
“Elissa brings a lot to the table. 99 percent of it is good. There’s some one percent that you’re like you cringe a bit as a coach.”
Haley Horstman added 15 points while Anna Hintz and Lynsey Englebrecht each had 14 points.
Alice Heinzler hit 5 of 16 3-point attempts and led Drury with 21 points.
The Panthers came out red hot from behind the arc, hitting 6 of their first 9 attempts, but they cooled off over the course of the game and finished at 7 of 29.
“We definitely went a little cold so that’s what our halftime talk was about,” Heinzler siad. “We’re shooting too many threes.”
Hailey Diestelkamp notched a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Panthers while Heather Harman and Azia Lynch chipped in 12 points apiece.
Both teams made 28 total field goals, but the Panthers created several easy opportunities via rebounding and turnovers and took 17 more shots than did UF.
The Panthers managed 18 offensive rebounds and played a stifling full-court press on defense, and scored 43 points either on second-chance opportunities or off UF turnovers.
“The second-chance points killed us,” Wiedie said. “You’re going to have turnovers against a team that presses the way they do. They do a tremendous job of face-guarding and denying.”
“It’s amazing that when you look at that stats and there’s 43 points and we lose by four.”
Drury forced UF into 22 turnovers, and came into the game turning over opponents at a rate of 26.4 per game, which ranks second nationally.
Findlay was not without its opportunities.
The Oilers trailed the entire way after Drury’s Heinzler broke a 12-12 tie with a 3-pointer with 4:18 left in the first quarter. They continued to hang around and trailed by three, 37-34, at halftime.
Five of their seven chances to tie or take the lead came in the final four minutes, but the Oilers missed all five shots and sprinkled in two more turnovers.
With 24 seconds remaining and UF trailing 71-69, Englebrecht, UF’s single-season leader in 3-pointers, got a clean look from behind the line, but her shot clanked off the rim.
Drury’s Hailey Diestelkamp’s free throw with 21 seconds to go made it 72-69. Diestelkamp then made a steal on the ensuing UF possession and after a foul by Ellerbrock hit both free throws to make it 74-69 with 19 seconds remaining.
A 3-pointer by Englebrecht pulled UF within 74-72, but Drury’s Heather Harman put the game away with two free throws in the final seconds.
The Oilers shot 53.8 percent overall (28 of 52) and was 5 of 14 from 3-point range.
“When they hit that momentum, they never got to the peak,” Miller said of UF. “We were able to answer or get a defensive stop. I think that’s big. That shows some veteran leadership from our seniors.”
Wiedie said it was a challenge to simulate Drury’s press in practice.
“It’s a lot easier said than done for me to sit on the sidelines and tell them to cut a little harder,” Wiedie said. “I thought they did a great job. We only had two five second calls. We did a pretty good job handling it.”

FINDLAY (22-8)
Hintz 6-11 2-4 14, Horstman 6-12 1-1 15, Thobe 1-1 0-0 2, Englebrecht 4-12 3-3 14, Stegmaier 3-4 0-0 6, Hinton 0-0 0-0 0, Molnar 0-1 1-2 1, Stolly 0-0 0-0 0, Ellerbrock 6-9 4-5 16, Fricke 0-0 0-0 0, Puthoff 2-2 0-2 4. TOTALS: 28-52 11-17 — 72.
DRURY (30-2)
Fernandez 4-7 0-0 8, Diestelkamp 5-13 4-6 14, Bernard 2-7 0-0 4, Heinzler 6-20 4-4 21, Harman 5-11 1-3 12, Vaught 0-0 0-0 0, Richards 1-1 0-0 3, Lynch 4-6 4-5 12, Stanfield 1-4 0-0 2, Parker 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28-69 13-18 — 76.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 5-14 (Hintz 0-1, Horstman 2-5, Englebrecht 3-8); Drury 7-29 (Diestelkamp 0-2, Bernard 0-2, Heinzler 5-16, Harman 1-6, Richards 1-1, Stanfield 0-2).
rebounds: Findlay 33 (Hintz 6); Drury 38 (Diestelkamp 15).
ASSISTS: Findlay 13 (Englebrecht 4); Drury 17 (Harman 7).
STEALS: Findlay 5; Drury 14 (Bernard 4).
BLOCKS: Findlay 5 (Puthoff 2); Drury 1.
TURNOVERS: Findlay 22, Drury 14.
TOTAL FOULS: Findlay 20, Drury 17.
HALFTIME: Drury, 37-34.
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