CHAMPIONSHIP GAME COVERAGE:
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The outstanding season for the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team will continue into March. Bring on the Madness. The Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers defeated the Transylvania University Pioneers by a final score of 50-40 in the HCAC Tournament title game to clinch the program's first ever berth in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament.
In the championship game, the Fightin' Engineers jumped out to an early 13-8 lead after the first quarter of play. RHIT used a 13-2 run in the second quarter and led 26-19 at halftime. Sophomore Taylor Graham jumpstarted the Fightin' Engineers in the first half, scoring all 10 of her points in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Fightin' Engineers used their strong defense to hold the Pioneers to just seven points when play resumed in the third quarter. RHIT led 39-26 heading in to the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Fightin' Engineers forced 20 Pioneer turnovers on the night and held TU to just 33.3% (12-36) shooting from the floor. Transylvania only made 25% (4-16) of its three-point attempts. Rose-Hulman also won the rebounding margin 30-25. RHIT also had six blocks in the contest.
Ally Bromenschenkel led all scorers in the game with 11 points. She also grabbed four rebounds. Abby Bromenschenkel scored five points, grabbed six rebounds, had two assists, got two steals, and blocked 2 shots in the win. Abbie Marshall scored eight points, grabbed four boards, and had two steals.
Ally Bromenschenkel, Abbie Marshall, and Alyzia Dilworth were all named to the HCAC All-Tournament team; Dilworth was named HCAC Tournament MVP for her outstanding play and leadership in this year's Heartland Conference Tournament.
Ashton Woodard scored nine points off of the bench for Transylvania to lead the Pioneers. Shelby Boyle and Rachel Cox both ended the game with eight points apiece. Celia Kline and Taylor Jackson added seven each. Woodard and Kline were named to the All-Tournament Team. The Pioneers ended their season with a record of 20-8.
The Championship win improved RHIT's record to 24-3. The win marks the first HCAC Tournament Championship in program history. The women have clinched a berth in the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, also a program first. The 24 wins this season is also the most in women's program history and ties the most wins in a single-season basketball season of either gender at Rose-Hulman.
The Fightin' Engineers reach their first NCAA Division III Tournament in their program's 22nd season of existence. Rose-Hulman also enters the tournament with a 25-game home winning streak that ranks No. 2 nationally behind the 62-game streak of defending national champion Thomas More. Rose-Hulman will also start the national tournament with a 14-game winning streak that ranks second in school history.
The Fightin' Engineers will find out who their opponent will be and where they will be playing during the NCAA Division III Selection Show which will be Monday February 27 at 2:30 p.m.