Every day at Naperville Central Emma Ondik could look up in the rafters and see basketball state championship banners.
Now she’s a part of her own championship moment.
Ondik and DePauw capped a perfect 34-0 season on March 16, beating Wisconsin-Whitewater 69-51 to win the Division III women’s basketball national championship.
Almost two weeks removed, home for spring break, Ondik said the accomplishment is finally sinking in.
“It was crazy, awesome to be a part of,” said Ondik, a 2011 Naperville Central graduate and two-time Daily Herald All-Area guard. “It’s the ultimate goal that we strive for in college basketball.”
DePauw also won it all in 2007. But this one, this one was done in style.
DePauw, first ranked No. 1 in November after beating defending national champ Illinois Wesleyan, won 31 of its 34 games by double figures. Its average margin of victory was 25.8 points. The closest call was a 60-59 win at Washington University on Nov. 24. It is the seventh undefeated season in Division III history.
“We definitely played some good basketball,” Ondik said. “We prepared the same for every team, didn’t look past any opponent and respected every opponent.”
Ondik, a sophomore majoring in economics, left Naperville Central as the school’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,516 varsity points. Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum once called Ondik “one of the two best shooters I’ve coached in 22 years.”
At DePauw Ondik this year was the backup point guard to senior Kate Walker. Playing all 34 games, she averaged 3.9 points and dished out 55 assists in 13.6 minutes a game.
“The speed of the game, it’s so much faster when you get in there,” Ondik said. “The other difference is my coach here spreads out the playing time a lot more. You don’t have to pace yourself. Just give 4-5 minutes of the hardest basketball you can play and then they’ll get someone else in there.”
Ondik was no stranger to success in high school, part of three DuPage Valley Conference champions and two regional champs at Naperville Central. She never envisioned a perfect season at DePauw, but the allure of a successful program played into her college choice.
Ondik is one of six Illinois natives on the women’s team, five from the Chicago area, at DePauw, a school of 2,300 students located in Greencastle, Ind., an hour west of Indianapolis.
“I wanted to go to a program that was successful and would be successful in the future,” Ondik said. “I definitely considered that when looking at other schools. It turned out to be a great decision.”
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