Wittenberg falls to Marietta in first round of NCAA tournament

Wittenberg celebrates after winning the NCAC women's basketball championship on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Greencastle, Ind. Photo courtesy of Wittenberg

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Wittenberg celebrates after winning the NCAC women's basketball championship on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Greencastle, Ind. Photo courtesy of Wittenberg

Tigers go cold in fourth as game slips away

Marietta broke open a close game with a game-ending 18-4 run to beat Wittenberg 65-50 in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday on the campus of Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Wittenberg (18-8) saw its season end six days after it won the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament to secure the league’s automatic NCAA bid.

Wittenberg had the early momentum. It built a 20-10 first-quarter lead with a 12-2 run to end the quarter. It led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter.

Marietta ended the half with an 11-0 spurt. Wittenberg led 30-29 at halftime.

It was a close game throughout the third quarter. Marietta outscored Wittenberg 9-4 in the last 4:15 to build a 47-41 lead.

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Wittenberg scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut Marietta’s lead to 47-46 with 8:28 to play but didn’t score in the next five minutes. It shot 14.3% (2 of 14) in the quarter.

Marietta took control with back-to-back 3-pointers by Olivia Gribble, who scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Kristie Kalis led Wittenberg with 14 points. Semie Brar scored 10 off the bench.

Marietta had a 44-31 rebounding advantage and shot 50% (8 of 16) from 3-point range, while Wittenberg shot 26.1% (6 of 23).

Marietta (22-5) will play No. 2 Hope or La Roche at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hope.

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