DePaul Women Advance to Maggie Dixon Final

CHICAGO- DePaul University fielded a football team from 1907-1938. The team's game in 1928 versus Loyola University drew 80,000 fans to Soldier Field. And while it is not known if there was tailgating at that game, there was tailgating outside McGrath-Phillips Arena Friday afternoon for DePaul's women's basketball team.

No. 25/NR DePaul beat Nicholls State 87-57 Friday night to advance to Saturday's championship game of the Chicago Maggie Dixon Classic.

DePaul head coach Doug Bruno gave his team a chalk talk at 4:30 Friday afternoon at a tailgate party under the El in preparation for tonight's game.

"I spent time talking about our team," said Bruno. "The only game you coach with the least amount of knowledge about your opponent is the first game. I let everybody know where everybody stood in the food chain of our team. We went into this game with seven starters in my mind and that means Chanise Jenkins and Kelsey Reynolds are in that status. We talked about the order of people coming on the floor."

And the food chain appears to be alive and thriving.

Bruno knows what he can expect from Anna Martin and Brittany Hrynko, and tonight those two did not disappoint.

Martin scored 14 points and added a team-high seven assists. She entered this game having not played in the two exhibition games due to a sprained ankle. Martin does not downplay the experience that exhibition games can provide.

"I do like to have exhibition games to get the lights on and the feel of the game," said Martin.

Hrynko scored 18 points, notched six assists and grabbed five rebounds.

"I am really impressed with how [Brittany] is working to manage a game," said Bruno. "She is working very hard to learn the position [of point guard]. There is a lot more to being a point guard than just making quick plays or highlight tapes."

And with her managing of the game indeed improving, Hrynko also managed to have DePaul's first highlight reel moment of this young season with 2:37 left in the first half.

DePaul started a fast break with Jenkins coming over mid court, passing to Hrynko, and Hrynko throwing a behind-the-back pass to Reynolds for a lay up.

"The ball really moved on that possession," said Bruno. "That can be the beauty of basketball when the ball moves like that."

And as good as those Martin and Hrynko are, tonight it may have been DePaul's bench play that tipped the scale, outscoring Nicholls State's bench 31-10.

Freshman Megan Podkowa entered the game at 11:36 of the first half. She then blocked a shot, and her put back on the next possession helped push DePaul from a 14-14 tie to a 32-18 lead over the next six minutes.

"Megan is really a sneaky-good ballplayer," said Bruno. "She is not a player that jumps at you, but she is tipping balls and she knew where to be in our match up zone. She got a lot of key rebounds and she made some plays that were very, very important.

"I thought Chanise Jenkins (seven points, four assists, and three steals) did a great job off the bench and Kelsey Reynolds (eight points, three assists, and three steals) was steady as well," said Bruno. "The bench did a good overall job."

Katherine Harry scored 10 of her 11 points in the first half and added a game-high nine rebounds for DePaul.

KK Babin led Nicholls State with 15 points.

DePaul plays Dayton in the championship game Saturday evening, with tip off slated for 7:00 CST. The Flyers beat Mississippi Valley 93-59 in today's first match up.

Game notes:

- This was the first meeting between the two teams.

- Anna Martin has now scored in double figures in 71 of her 104 games at DePaul.

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