Denver downs Fort Wayne

No. 3 seeded Fort Wayne and No. 6 seeded Denver met in the Summit League women’s basketball quarterfinals on Saturday, a game which the Mastodons won 79-73 before a crowd of 4,362.

A game that had seven ties and six lead changes, it was heart-filled for all, especially the senior athletes on the IPFW roster who knew the game was their last.

“Not to leave anyone out, but I really wanted to send those seniors out on a little higher note.” Fort Wayne head coach Chris Paul said.

After the Mastodons led them 35-28 at the half, Fort Wayne’s defense proved strongest during a seven minute stretch to open the second half, during which the Mastodons’ gained an eight point lead.

“I honestly believed that when we took that eight point lead that we had turned the corner and we were going to win the basketball game.” Paul said.

Denver’s strength came partly from guard Paige Bradley who contributed 24 points, four assists and one steal in her 38 minutes of play.

“When you get to this point there always seems to be an X-factor somewhere and Denver had an X-factor in a young lady [Bradley] who got five threes on us,” Paul said.

The Pioneers maintained a commanding defense throughout the game against IPFW’s Amanda Hyde, Haley Seibert and numerous other high stat contributors.

“I’m proud of our team of the defensive end more than anything,” Denver head coach Kerry Cremeans said. “IPFW has phenomenal scorers.”

Hyde, the Summit League Player of the Year, contributed 28 points, five total rebounds and three assists.

“She [Hyde] gave us, me, my family and the university four years that I can’t even put into words how much it means to me.” Paul said.

The conclusion of the close contest proved to be emotional for the Fort Wayne athletes as both Seibert and Hyde choked back tears at the press conference, repressing both team pride and disappointment for their season-ending loss.

Denver, having won their first Summit League Tournament game and having scored the only upset of the weekend, continues on to face IUPUI on Monday at 2:30 p.m. in the semifinals.