DePaul Women Take Maggie Dixon Classic Title

CHICAGO- DePaul's Brittany Hrynko played well in the Blue Demons' two exhibition games and in the first round of the Maggie Dixon Classic. But observers probably could not help wondering when Hrynko would explode. Those observers, and the Duquesne Dukes, got their answer Saturday night.

Brittany Hrynko scored a game-high 21 points, Chanise Jenkins added 15 points, and Jasmine Penny was named the Classic's Most Valuable Player as the Blue Demons (2-0) beat Duquesne (1-1), 88-77, in the title game of the 3rd annual Maggie Dixon Classic.

DePaul placed six players in double figures.

Hrynko had a rough first half, just 3-10 from the field. But there were twenty more minutes to play.

"Coach [Bruno] always says 'if the shot is not falling, look to facilitate, and that the game is going to come to me," she said.

And there it was in the second half, not just statistics (15 points, two rebounds, four steals, and two assists), but the play such as the steal at the half court sideline and a behind the back pass to Jenkins in one motion.

But with all Hrynko had to think about tonight, one thing that never crossed her mind was being named the Big East's pre-season Player of the Year.

"I didn't think about that once. That is the only thing I am not thinking about. I am only concerned about getting my teammates involved."

She finished with a team-high eight rebounds to go along with four assists and seven steals.

"Brit has shown some maturity with experience, and that is really a joy to watch," said Bruno.

The last time these two teams played one another was in 1998, when the Dukes won 66-65 on a jumper at the buzzer. DePaul made sure in the last eight minutes of tonight's game that there would be a different outcome this time, while Duquesne sought in the first ten minutes to make its potential win tonight much bigger than one point.

The Dukes jumped out to a 21-12 lead midway through the first half.

"We told each other to stay composed, play defense, and rebound the ball," said Jenkins. "They got a few early shots, which was a lack of defense, so we talked about tightening up."

That tightening up came in large part from Penny and freshman Jessica January.

January's three-pointer sparked a 14-2 DePaul run, which ended with Megan Rogowski (15 points and six rebounds) draining a three-pointer to give DePaul its first lead at 26-23 at 8:30.

"I was very pleased with these players to stay the course and believe in how we play and not panic when we were down 10 points early," said Bruno.

Penny's efforts during that span included a three-point play, and a blocked shot and full court layup.

January injured her left shoulder with 3:28 left to play in the first half, but came back to hit a three-pointer with twenty one seconds left to send DePaul into the half down 39-38.

"Jessica is one of the most important players on this team," said Bruno. "She plays with the poise of a senior. Her competitiveness is off the charts, but her versatility as well. She is as important as any starter we have."

And then there were the last eight minutes.

"I was very pleased with how this team played in the last eight minutes and how they brought this game home," said Bruno.

The Dukes tied the game at 58 on a free throw by Orsi Szecsi (team-high 20 points) at 8:26.

Penny then picked up her fourth foul at 7:34 and she fouled out with 2:30 left to play. Her stat line over the two games: 31 points on 11-15 from the field to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists.

She spoke about the fine line that players walk during foul trouble late in close games.

"I still try to stay aggressive, but at the same time I need to be clean so that I am keeping myself in the game."

DePaul's Megan Podkowa (11 points and six rebounds) then arrived as a bolt from the Blue, with two consecutive three-pointers to boost the Blue Demons to a 64-60 lead with seven minutes to play. DePaul did not trail the rest of the game.

Podkowa summed up why shooters love playing for Bruno: "we have the greenest green light in America."

DePaul shot eight for ten from the line in the last two minutes, while Duquesne went without a field goal in the last 4:45.

The tournament is named after the former DePaul assistant coach, who died of cardiac arrhythmia on April 6, 2006. Dixon is buried at West Point.

"She was like a daughter to me in that she was very close to my sons, and what made Maggie, Maggie, was her maturity and the circle of friends that she had," said Bruno. "She was a good human being."

DePaul next plays Illinois State at home on Monday, November 14 at 7:00 CST.


- DePaul is now 1-2 versus Duquesne.

- Bruno played at DePaul against the father of the Duke's assistant coach, Rachel Wojdowski.

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