The Ripon College women’s basketball team held its own at times last week Friday against the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

   But in the end it wasn’t enough as it fell to St. Thomas Tommies 88-58 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

   The Red Hawks were within eight of the Tommies at 22-14 after the first quarter, 40-29 entering halftime and 61-46 following three quarters of play, before getting out-scored 27-12 in the fourth quarter.

   St. Thomas (28-1), which was the host of a four-team pod, went on to defeat Wisconsin Lutheran 67-51 a day later to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fifth year in a row.

   Ripon, meanwhile, ends a season in which it finished 19-9 overall and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

   “We wanted to battle and we think our team did that, even really playing with three starters who didn’t have even close to their best night of the season,” Ripon head coach Lauren Busalacchi said.

   The Red Hawks also weren’t at their best on defense as they allowed St. Thomas to shoot 55 percent from the field (31 of 56), which includes 52 percent (9 of 17) behind the arc.

Read the full story, which includes information on a match-up problem against Hannah Spaulding, as well as a breakout game from Caitie Carpenter, in the March 7, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.