DePaul placed six players in double figures as the Blue Demons beat Oral Roberts 97-74 Friday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
The Blue Demons jumped out to a 51-28 halftime lead, but DePaul coach Doug Bruno was quick to point out that the teams played a 46-46 second half.
"The ability to sustain defensive effort is still something that has to be figured out by our basketball team," said Bruno. "We know that we have some pretty good players offensively, but we have to guard better than we did in the second half."
The offense was pretty good at times, with Anna Martin leading DePaul with 19 points. Martin passed Keisha Hampton for eleventh all-time in scoring at DePaul and in the second half moved moved past Debra Robinson (1978-1982) and into tenth place.
Jasmine Penny added 17 points for DePaul, and was one of four Blue Demons to guard the Golden Eagles' Honorable Mention All-America guard, Kevi Luper.
Luper is averaging 23.8 ppg this year, and she has an outside chance of becoming women's college basketball's second leading scoring of all time behind Jackie Stiles.
DePaul held Luper to a team-high 17 points on 6-15 shooting from the floor, but Penny, like her coach, sees the bigger picture.
"She was a tough player to guard and we did a good job on her, but we have to get better defensively as a team," said Penny.
Chanise Jenkins added 12 points and a career-high 10 of DePaul's 29 assists.
And while the defensive level that Bruno wants is not always there, the back court trio of Jenkins, Anna Martin and Brittany Hrynko (16 points and six assists) is starting to come together.
"The more practices we get, the more we get a feel for each other, and everything is starting to connect," said Jenkins. The team chemistry is beginning to form, but we just have to get it stronger now."
Hrynko, Jenkins and Martin are second, third and fourth in the Big East in assists. DePaul is the only team in the Big East to have three players in the top 15 in assists.
A three-pointer by Megan Rogowski (15 points and seven rebounds) gave DePaul a 34-22 lead with 6:17 left in the first half, and the Blue Demons finished the half on a 17-6 run.
The Blue Demons (11-3) opened their biggest lead of 36 points with 8:54 left in the game.
DePaul's Katherine Harry had the game's only double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles fall to 3-8.
"This team would have had a nice day off if they had guarded for two halves," said Bruno.
The Blue Demons stay home to play No. 12 Louisville on January 5th at 5:00 CST. The game will be televised on the Big East Television Network.
- Martin and Luper are both on the Naismith Trophy Watch List.
DePaul's Offense Silences Oral Roberts
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