Women's Basketball Headed to UW-Whitewater for NCAA Tourney Friday

Women's Basketball Headed to UW-Whitewater for NCAA Tourney Friday

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team will travel to Wisconsin-Whitewater for a first-round matchup against Gustavus Adolphus on Friday at 5 p.m. Central Time (6 p.m. ET) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, according to the bracket released Monday on NCAA.com.

Rose-Hulman, ranked No. 20 in the latest D3hoops.com national top 25 poll, enters the NCAA Tournament with a 24-3 record and a school record 22-game winning streak.  The Fightin' Engineers are also ranked No. 23 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) national top 25 poll, the first WBCA top 25 ranking in the history of the women's basketball program.  The 2017-18 Fightin' Engineers became the first team in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball history to win all 18 regular season games and the conference tournament. 

Rose-Hulman has the distinction of the nation's longest current home winning streak in NCAA Division III women's basketball at 38 games, with the last home loss coming in February 2015.  The team secured its NCAA Tournament bid with a 57-51 win over Transylvania in the HCAC Tournament championship game on Saturday night at Hulbert Arena.

Rose-Hulman's opponent will be the Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties.  The Golden Gusties are members of the the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).  Gustavus Adolphus is 22-6 this season and lost to St. Thomas in the MIAC Championship game.  

The Fightin' Engineers are part of a four-team NCAA tournament site hosted by Wisconsin-Whitewater.  The winner of Friday's matchup will face the winner of a contest between Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Superior in the NCAA Round of 32 on Saturday at 7 p.m. Central Time (8 p.m. Eastern).

For Rose-Hulman, the last three years have brought the women's basketball program to unprecedented heights, including back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2017 and 2018.  The 2015-16 team finished 23-4 and won a share of the HCAC regular season championship before falling in the conference tournament championship game. 

The 2016-17 team finished 24-4 and 17-1 in conference play to earn its first outright regular season championship.  The Fightin' Engineers then won the HCAC Tournament championship and reached the NCAA Division III Tournament, narrowly falling 57-54 to Wheaton (Ill.).

The current squad started 2-3 with all three losses by a combined 12 points to three teams ranked inside the D3hoops.com top 25.  Rose-Hulman has since rattled off 22 consecutive wins and has won its last 34 games against HCAC competition.

The Fightin' Engineers have relied on balanced scoring and one of the nation's top defenses for their strong overall performance.  Ally Bromenschenkel leads the team at 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.  The most recent starting lineup includes Alyzia Dilworth (8.4 points per game), Abby Bromenschenkel (7.5 ppg), Lindsey Fagerberg (7.2 ppg) and Kayla Gerken (2.7 ppg). The team's second leading scorer Chiarra Franklin has come off the bench to average 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and was named HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player last weekend.

Other Rose-Hulman players to see action in more than 20 games has included Taylor Graham (7.3 ppg), Debie Gedeon (3.2 ppg), Sophie Brooks (2.9 ppg), and Jenna Queary (2.4 ppg).  The team ranks in the national top five in scoring defense, allowing just 47.6 points per game.