The DePauw University men’s and women’s basketball teams experienced fresh competition as they traveled to compete against teams from across the country in their respective winter break tournaments.
The men traveled to Tampa Bay for the Tampa Bay Shootout, an invitational that saw the Tigers retain the title as champions. The Tigers opened the tournament with a solid 56-43 win against the Wentworth Institute of Technology, which boosted them into the championship game the next day against SUNY-Canton. The Tigers were able to narrowly escape the Kangaroos with a 70-69 win thanks to a wide scoring distribution, where 6 players score 8 or more points, led by senior Luke Lattner’s team high of 12.
Junior David Vogel gives credit for the team’s tournament success to strong performances from players coming off the bench and the team’s stingy defensive play.
“We played really well as a team,” Vogel said. “Everybody did a good job contributing and we played good defense as we held both teams under 70.” Vogel was a part of the All-Tournament team for the Tampa Shootout, and was joined by his teammate, junior Nate Jahn. Jahn was also named tournament MVP, as he averaged 6.5 points, three assists, and three rebounds per game over the two games.
A tournament win was a big morale booster for the Tigers, who saw themselves over .500 for the first time this season. “Being over .500 definitely has gotten all of us really excited,” sophomore Pat Feely said. The men’s team went on to win their next two conference games against Allegheny College and Kenyon College. “This momentum is definitely something that helped us in the back half of our conference schedule over winter term and allowed us to play as successfully as we did.”
Similarly, the women traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to compete in the Puerto Rico Classic. The thirteenth-ranked Tigers opened the tournament with a commanding 60-56 win against then ninth-ranked Wisconsin Oshkosh. The Tigers were led by outstanding performances by First-year Maya Howard, who led the game in scoring with 19 points, and junior Emily Budde who added 9 points and 4 rebounds. The Tigers concluded their invitational play with another win against Vassar College, which advanced the Tigers to 10-1.
One of the challenges that the women faced during this tournament was playing in an open-air gym. With temperatures hitting mid-80’s during game time, the temperature on the court was much hotter than they had been used to. “The gym was very hot but we played well through it,” Budde said.
She also saw the tournament as a great indicator for the team’s successful future. “We rose to the occasion and played well which has given us the confidence to keep playing at this level.”
The women continued their confidence going into their Winter Term schedule as they have won 9 straight since the tournament and advanced to 19-1.