No. 25 DePaul rallied from a huge deficit early, but could not get key stops in the final minute, losing to Northwestern 82-79.
The Blue Demons took a 77-73 lead on a three-pointer by Megan Rogowski (team-high 23 points) and led 79-77 with 1:15 to play. Alex Cohen's three-point play resulted in an 80-79 Wildcat lead as Megan Podkowa (20 points and eight rebounds) fouled out on the play with thirty seconds remaining.
"We gave up three really crucial rebounds down the stretch," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "We get those three rebounds and we are happy people [after the game]."
Northwestern's Ashley Deary then missed the second shot of a one-and-one, but Chanise Jenkins was stripped on a drive in the lane with nine seconds left.
The Wildcats' Christen Inman then missed the second shot of a one-and-one with eight seconds left and Northwestern leading 82-79. Jasmine Penny rebounded for DePaul and Brittany Hrynko raced up the floor, with the play ending on numerous tipped passes and no shot attempted as the clock ran out.
"You win on the road by defending well and rebounding," Bruno said. "We were up 77-73 with one minute to play. All you have to do to win the game is defend and rebound. And we didn't guard and we didn't rebound. [Doing those things] is how we got the lead in the first half."
This was the 31st meeting between the two schools. DePaul leads the series 16-15 and has won three of the last four meetings. Northwestern holds an 8-7 in games played at Evanston.
That DePaul even got to the point of attempting a game-tying shot in the final seconds was a feat in itself.
The Blue Demons (3-2) were down 21-4 seven minutes into the contest. Podkowa's three-pointer ignited an 18-1 DePaul run, and the Blue Demons took their first lead of the game at 25-24 with 7:22 left.
"We came out strong and got some easy baskets which gave us some confidence," said Northwestern coach Jack McKeown. "But they are so well-coached, it is hard to stop them from getting shots they want."
"We decided really early when we down 9-2 that it was going to be a chip-away game," said Bruno. "We were talking about trying to get into halftime down five points."
Rogowski's three-pointer ended a 32-9 DePaul run and sent the Blue Demons into the half with a 36-30 lead.
The 36 points is the most given up in a first half by Northwestern (6-1) this year. The Wildcats had been averaging 65.2 points per game. Lauren Douglas scored a career-high 26 points for Northwestern.
Chanise Jenkins added 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for DePaul.
"We did so many good things and it's unfortunate that we now have to start from square one," said Bruno. That square one starts this Saturday at home versus Loyola.
Today's game was deemed Autism Awareness Day. McKeown's son has autism and the coach spoke about what today's game meant for him personally in that respect.
"In the mid-1900's in the Washington D.C. area where we lived, there was not a lot of parents advocating for their own kids, so I feel there is a lot more awareness now.
"Just giving kids' parents some hope that people care about autism. We had a few kids come to the game today who would otherwise never get out of the house.
"Coach Bruno has been great in that respect. We have a walk every May at Soldier Field and he has contributed to that. I want to thank DePaul for partnering up with us today."
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