It may lack the glamor and hoopla of the NCAA men's tournament, but the Division III women's basketball title is nothing to sneeze at. Particularly if all the men's teams in your state
bombed out of the NCAA tourney early. So let's hear it for the Washington University Bears, who beat Hope College 65-59 yesterday for their first national title since 2001.
Yesterday was actually the Bears' third appearance in the championship game in the past four years, a nice farewell to the senior players. "To end your career on such a high note, I can't ask for more," senior Janice Evans told Wash. U.'s student paper, Student Life
The Bears came into the tournament ranked sixth nationwide. In a dramatic semifinal game against number-one Amherst, they overcame an eight-point deficit at halftime to tie up in the final minutes to send the game into overtime, where they outscored the Lord Jeffs 22-11 to win 86-75.
In contrast, in the final game against number-four Hope, the Bears secured a decisive 39-33 lead at the start of the second half and maintained it for the final 13:20 of the season. Senior Jaimie McFarlin, the team's longtime star, racked up 14 points and 15 rebounds, bringing her career total at Wash. U. to 1,012. Junior Alex Hoover was the top scorer with 18 points, including 10 of 11 free throws.
McFarlin was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Coach Nancy Fahey was D3Hoops.com
's National Coach of the Year.
"Even when I was shooting those last free throws, I was thinking [that]
it's still not over," McFarlin told Student Life
. "I just couldn't believe it until
the confetti started falling, and it was real confetti, not the
confetti in my dreams. To get to the goals that you set, it feels so