DePaul Seniors End NCAA Streak and Advance

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- For DePaul seniors Deirdre Naughton, Sam Quigley, Felicia Chester, China Threatt and Jen Juergens, this was the last chance. With bitter memories of Georgia Tech, Marist, San Diego State and Vanderbilt lingering, this was the final forty minutes to try and end it.

And at game's end, more time was put on the clock for DePaul.

Felicia Chester notched a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) to led DePaul to a 56-43 win against Navy Saturday afternoon ending the Blue Demons' streak of four consecutive losses in first round NCAA tournament games.

"This is the best women's basketball team in the history of DePaul regular season and yet these young women know that they have to make a statement in March," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "I know these young ladies wanted this."

They wanted this, and more.

"At the end of the game I looked at Felicia [Chester] and said 'we finally got it'," said sixth-year senior Naughton. "We will celebrate for a second, but it is not even close to what we want to accomplish here."

And what she and her team want to accomplish here is to beat Penn State Monday night at 6:00 CST to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, a feat last accomplished at DePaul by its 2005-06 squad.

But to face Penn State, DePaul had to overcome a first half it which shot 31% from the field, was 0-10 from behind the arc and did not attempt a free throw.

Chester helped overcome that first 18:00 with two steals in the last 1:41 to help DePaul to a 24-21 halftime lead.

The Midshipmen (20-12) held tough though, taking their first and only lead of the game, 30-29, on a three-pointer by Alix Membreno with 16:51 left.

"I definitely think that when Navy took the lead, we all got together and knew we had to turn it up and focus more on defense and getting stops," Chester said.

DePaul held the Midshipmen scoreless for the next 3:30 and a lay up by Quigley and a three-pointer from the left wing from Naughton put the Blue Demons up 37-32 with 13:08 left.

A layup by Jade Geif (game-high 14 points and 12 rebounds) closed the gap to 41-38, but Threatt answered with a three-pointer.

"The game was close and with four minutes to go, DePaul turned it up a notch and we weren't able to respond," Navy coach Stefanie Pemper said.

Keisha Hampton's jumper with 2:37 left was the final basket of the game and gave DePaul its biggest lead.

DePaul (28-6), which has scored 70 or more points in 20 of its 27 wins this year, used a full court press to help gain distance from the Midshipmen, forcing 23 turnovers and scoring 20 points off of them.

"We were playing more of a tempo than they wanted to play," DePaul's Anna Martin (10 points) said. "We like to run and go and they were walking the ball up, so coach [Bruno] made the decision that we were going to go up the floor and try to pressure them and get them in a faster tempo than they were used to."

Penn State beat Dayton, 75-66, in the earlier Saturday game.

Notes: Chester's six steals ties her with Holly Medley (2005-06) for most steals by a DePaul player in an NCAA tournament game.

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