The DePauw Women's Basketball team completed their extremely successful season on Saturday, March 2, in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The team had a record of 22-8 this year.

Tying for first in the regular season conference, the team ended up clutching the number one seed entering the NCAC tournament. 

“The dedication and hard work we invested in the program served as a constant reminder of what we were working towards. Knowing the amount of hours put in and sacrifices made to reach the tournament fueled our motivation to achieve our goals,” Alina Pusko ‘26 said. 

First round, they played Denison, whom they lost to on January 17, 48-54.  They rose above and knocked them out. “I remember after we played Denison in the tournament and won, Coach, with no doubt, said we are playing in March. We still had to be OWU (Ohio Wesleyan) the following day, but I believe it lit a fire under our team that made us really want it,” Sophomore Diana Burgher ‘26 said. 

With the team entering the part of the season where they must win to continue to advance and play, many of the players found inspiration and motivation from their teammates. “During the NCAC & NCAA tournament, my teammates were a constant source of motivation for me,” Tori Allen ‘27 said. 

The next night, they played Ohio Wesleyan University in the finals. Last time they saw them on February 3, they lost 63-74. With an entire team effort, they defeated them with the close score of 56-53. “All of us bought it, we all wanted to win,” Burgher said. The DePauw Women's Basketball Team became conference champions. 

“Proving that we were the best team in the NCAC, even though we didn’t go undefeated during the regular season, kept us motivated during the NCAC tournament,” Lyla Barr ‘25 said. “We knew that we needed to win the tournament to know that we would for sure have a spot in the NCAA tournament.” 

At the beginning of the season, the DePauw Women's Basketball Team was predicted to win 4th in the conference, and they proved them wrong. “I think that us being picked to win fourth in our conference was a motivator to show that people were wrong about us.” Burgher said. 

This Women's Basketball Team is a very young team with mostly first-years, sophomores and juniors- with only one senior, Lydia Stulken. Stulken showed strong leadership throughout the season and led her team to success. “If you were to ask any of the girls on the team, they would undoubtedly point to Lydia Stullken as the embodiment of leadership,” Allen said, “As our lone senior this year, Lydia embraced her role with remarkable dedication and inspiration. Each day, she approached the team with a readiness to work, a vocal presence during practice everyday, and an aura that planted confidence in you with just a simple glance at her.” 

 The job was not finished after becoming NCAC champions, the team got a bid to the national tournament and played Berea in the first round. DePauw defeated them with a score of 74-52. 

“Our collective motivation was evident every day as we stood side by side, ready to work. This shared commitment is what kept us going with our heads held high during the NCAA tournament,” Allen said. 

Each and every player on this special team emphasizes the importance of their unique team bond. This team is extremely close and this ultimately brought them to such a memorable season. “When I’m asked about my favorite aspect of playing basketball at DePauw, I consistently highlight my teammates. Their unwavering support and commitment keeps me motivated and inspired.” Moira McGinley ‘25 said. 

Similarly, Barr said the same thing. “The bond we have as a GBT family is what I think truly brought us together as a team throughout the season because we came to work everyday for the person standing next to us and always had each other's backs no matter what.” 

Saturday night, March 2, they played Hope in the second round of the NCAA tournament. With a tough battle, never giving up, they fell with a score of 55-70. 

With their 2023/2024 season wrapped up, the team is already ready and eager for next season. 

Barr said, “Next season I am looking forward to building onto all that we have accomplished this season and hopefully playing even longer in March!” 

The team has a few days off and then will be back in lifting as a team and playing together. “I’m looking forward to growing as a team and creating even more special memories both on and off the court. I think we have an amazing group of hard-working girls and I’m excited to see what the next season holds!” Pusko said. 

The team is ready for next season and they are hoping to advance even farther. “I am looking forward to what the growth in each of us brings to next season. I know that all of us want nothing but to play in March and get out of the first weekend,"  Burgher said.