DePaul Wins Maggie Dixon Classic

CHICAGO- Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love. Chicago is known as the City of Big Shoulders. Combining the two cities and their nicknames on Doug Bruno Court Saturday night proved to be a spontaneous combustion.

Keisha Hampton scored 23 points and was named tournament MVP as DePaul captured the Maggie Dixon Classic with a 91-47 win over UC-Riverside.

The junior from Philadelphia has started every game during her three years at DePaul, and she received plenty of love as she carried her team on her shoulders in the early going, scoring seven of DePaul's first 14 points as the Blue Demons jumped out to a 14-2 lead.

"There is a reason why Keisha has started every game here," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "When you start here, it is because you earned the right to start here. From her freshman year it has been a natural experience progression. What I love about coaching her is that she does allow herself to be coached, and she does want to get better."

DePaul (6-1) got another strong night of play from its bench with Taylor Pikes recording a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and Deanna Ortiz scoring 12 points on four of five shooting from behind the arc.

"Taylor Pikes has been great off the bench," Bruno said. "She came up with two ball games back to back. I cannot say how pleased I am with Deanna Ortiz's season so far. She probably could have earned an All-Tournament award as well. We think she is one of the best shooters we have ever had at DePaul. I am thrilled that she is able to knock these shots down and shoot with the confidence to let it rip."

The balance and teamwork of DePaul was crystallized off a Hampton miss midway through the first half.

With the Blue Demons leading 23-9 at the 8:23 mark, Hampton misfired on a three. Offensive rebounds were corralled by Pikes, Hampton, three more by Pikes, and one by Anna Martin before Hampton finally converted and then completed a three point play.

Hampton scored her 23 points in 20 minutes of play.

"I wasn't really worried about MVP," Hampton said. "I was just worried about winning the Classic because that was one of our goals. Winning the MVP was an added benefit."

UC-Riverside's defense had been its forte so far this season, holding opponents to 48.0 ppg. DePaul scored that amount in the first half and led 48-23 at the break.

The Highlanders three point defense had been suffocating, holding opponents to 14.6% from three point range. DePaul shot 52.2% (12-23) from behind the arc.

The Blue Demons' Sam Quigley had a season-best eight assists to go with her eight points. Her three pointer with 7:52 left extended DePaul's lead to 72-35.

"Sam had been a great leader for this basketball team over the last couple of years, Bruno said. "Tonight was just another example of her taking the lead with this basketball team and not caring about anything other than if the team wins. If she needs to throw the ball to her teammates and not worry about scoring, that is what she does."

And while it was another strong effort by Hampton, like all great players, she is aware of the things she needs to do to get better.

"I know one thing I have to get better with is to keep rebounding, and I think I tried to focus on that more in this tournament than I had in the past games."

Pikes and Martin (12 points, team-leading three steals) were named to the All-Tournament Team.

TreShont Nottingham scored a team-high 11 points for UC-Riverside (3-2). She too was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Morgan State beat Northwestern State 53-48 in the consolation game.

DePaul stays home this week, entertaining Illinois State on Chicagoland Field Trip Day this Wednesday at 12:00 CST.

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