Thanks in part to a solid road win at Carnegie Mellon University over the weekend, the UR women’s basketball team has secured a spot in the most prestigious Division III tournament in the country.

UR sent an emphatic message to the NCAA tournament selection committee with a 66-41 blowout win in Pennsylvania on Saturday and received a Pool C (at-large) bid into the NCAA Division III tournament.

Early Monday morning, the news got even better – UR will be hosting their first and second round games on Friday and Saturday at the Palestra.

The Yellowjackets were in control of the game against CMU from the opening tip and went on a 13-0 run early in the game to grab a double-digit lead. At halftime, the Yellowjackets held a 45-22 advantage.

UR hit a rough patch early in the second half, when they went scoreless for more than seven minutes. The Yellowjackets were solid from the free-throw line, however, sinking 20 of 23 attempts. It was that touch that carried them to the big win.

Junior Danielle Muller led all scorers with 15 points. Senior Jessie Graham chipped in 14 points and freshman Alex Porter added 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Yellowjackets played stingy defense, as no Carnegie Mellon player scored more than nine points. The women also forced the Tartans into 24 turnovers.

“We came out ready to play in our game on Saturday because it was the last of the regular season,” Graham said. “We wanted to finish the regular season with a win to give ourselves the best chance possible to get into the tournament.”

The Yellowjackets finished the regular season with an 18-7 record, including a 9-5 mark in University Athletic Association play. While this record may not seem particularly gaudy, head coach Jim Scheible says people should look deeper when evaluating his team.

“Don’t be fooled by our record,” Scheible said. “We played the third hardest schedule in the country while also playing in the toughest conference in the country for women. I think we earned our way in by winning a lot of big games this year.”

On Monday, the NCAA released the bracket for this year’s Division III tournament. As the second seed in the East region, UR will host three games this weekend. Medaille College will play Washington & Jefferson College on Friday, followed by UR versus SUNY Cortland. The winners of those games will meet on Saturday, with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line.

Despite being the favorite, the Yellowjackets are not looking past their first-round game.

“Cortland is a very strong team with many good outside shooters,” Graham said. “It should be a very competitive game.”

Moeller can be reached at amoeller@campustimes.org.



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