Ohio Wesleyan has made 13 appearances in the championship game of the North Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament. The Ohio Wesleyan women’s basketball team advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III national semifinals in 2001, finishing third in the nation that year.
In 1985, Nan Carney-DeBord took over as women’s basketball coach and the Bishops upset NCAA Division III quarterfinalist Muskingum in her second game as a head coach. The women’s basketball team swept the NCAC season and tournament championships in 1992, Ohio Wesleyan’s first league titles in the sport. The Bishops went on to make their first NCAA Division III playoff appearance, losing to Muskingum. Krista Jacobs ’92 finished her career as Ohio Wesleyan’s all-time leading scorer and is a rare four-time first-team All-NCAC selection.
The women’s basketball team advanced to the 2001 NCAA Division III national semifinals, becoming the first team in NCAC history to advance to that point in the national playoffs. Ohio Wesleyan finished third in the nation after defeating Emmanuel in the third-place game, capping a postseason run filled with comebacks and nail-biting finishes. The Battling Bishops won their third consecutive NCAC championship. Nan Carney-DeBord was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
The Bishops overcame an 18-point second-half deficit to win the NCAC tournament in 2002 for the second straight year. Post Tiffany Barbee ’04 received the Al Van Wie Award as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Barbee and post Katy Sturtz ’02 helped the Bishops advance to the sectional semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament, where they dropped a 1-point decision to eventual national runner-up St. Lawrence. Sturtz finished her basketball career as only the fourth player in NCAC history to surpass both 1000 points and 1000 rebounds.
In 2009, the women’s basketball team knocked off Wittenberg, upended top-seeded Denison, and then defeated Allegheny to win the NCAC tournament and advance to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the first time since 2002. The women’s basketball team defeated Hunter, 77-71, in the championship game of the Hunter College Tip-Off Tournament. The win was the 400th career victory for head coach Nan Carney-DeBord, making her the 33rd coach in NCAA Division III history to reach that mark.
The Battling Bishop women’s basketball team plays their home games in Branch Rickey Arena, nestled in the middle of the Ohio Wesleyan campus. The arena was named after Branch Rickey ’04, who integrated major league baseball while president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Branch Rickey Arena seats 1450 for basketball and has been the site for NCAA Division III playoff games for both genders as well as several North Coast Athletic Conference and Ohio Athletic Conference tournaments. Rickey Arena is part of the Rickey Center, which also includes the adjacent Gordon Field House.