Hampton, Martin Push DePaul Past Wildcats

EVANSTON, IL- Keisha Hampton and Anna Martin stood near one another as Martin led DePaul's post-game huddle Sunday afternoon. After what the two had accomplished in the prior forty minutes, the scene could be no different.

Keisha Hampton scored a career-high 32 points and Martin added 21 as No. 23/20 DePaul (5-1, 0-0) beat Northwestern 88-72 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Two years ago at Welsh-Ryan, DePaul blew a nine-point lead in the last two minutes and lost to the Wildcats 59-55, snapping DePaul's 36-game winning streak against Illinois schools.

Fast forward to Sunday's game with Hampton and Katherine Harry each picking up their second foul eight minutes in to the game, DePaul having four players not dressed due to injuries, the team not having played in six days, and the Blue Demons had reason to worry about a possible repeat final outcome.

Dannielle Diamant's 15 first half points and dominance in the paint for Northwestern only added to the anxiety.

But as with any story line, there are two or more sides to be told.

One of those sides was Hampton.

Hampton scored 12 points in the first half, but it was her second half performance that cemented her reputation as one of the most explosive players in college basketball today.

And today she was as dominant as dynamite.

Karly Roser's lay up cut DePaul's lead to 67-64 with 7:28 left to play, but then Hampton went to work.

A three-pointer. Two free throws. A jumper. Four free throws in the final 1:43. Her work day was done and perfect in one respect.

Hampton became the third player in DePaul women's basketball history to go a perfect 12-12 from the line.

DePaul shot 95 percent (18-19) from the line.

"I did not know it was a career high," Hampton said. "I am not too worried about the career high. It was a great win for our team and that is the most important thing."

Martin was another side.

The junior scored 13 first half points on 3-4 three point shooting, repeatedly answering Diamant.

After a Diamant three pointer gave the Wildcats a 13-9 lead, Martin sank three three-pointers over the next two minutes. DePaul did not trail again.

"It seemed like every time we made a run, we left somebody open at the wrong time, and they made us pay." Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said.

Martin, averaging 21 ppg, "worked really hard in the preseason on my shot. A lot of it is trying to be more consistent for my team because I knew that myself, Keisha [Hampton], Katherine [Harry] and the rest of the veteran players are really going to have to step up this year."

The Blue Demons played Sunday without starter Taylor Pikes, starting point guard Chanise Jenkins, freshman Alexa Gallagher and senior Maureen Mulchrone.

Sophomore Jasmine Penny stepped up. Penny scored all 11 of her points in the second half including a critical steal and three-point play in the final 90 seconds.

Freshman Brittany Hrynko also stepped up. Due to Jenkins' injury, Hrynko was forced to play the point during her 31 minutes of play. She scored 14 points, had four rebounds and dished out three assists.

Northwestern falls to 4-1. Morgan Jones added 17 points and Brittany Orban scored 16 for the Wildcats. Diamant finished with 19 points.

DePaul returns home to play Loyola-Chicago this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CST.

Sunday's game was designated an Autism Awareness Game. McKeown, whose son has autism, spoke about the bigger meaning of today's game.

"It gave a lot of kids a chance to see a college basketball game, get out of the house, run around and do things that they normally would not get a chance to do," said McKeown. "It was such a huge thing for the kids to be able to come to a Northwestern and DePaul basketball game."

Notes:

- Harry recorded her 101st career blocked shot.

- DePaul leads the series 15-14 and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings.


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