Career-Highs Fly DePaul Women Past Washington

LAS VEGAS- The maturation process of a basketball team can be a slow process, but it is a beautiful thing to watch once it arrives. DePaul took a huge step towards that arrival Friday afternoon.

Chanise Jenkins and Brittany Hrynko set career-highs as the Blue Demons beat Washington, 73-66, in the Duel in the Desert Tournament at Cox Pavilion.

"It is what I envisioned our team could be at the beginning of the season," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno.

Jenkins scored a career-high 18 points and keyed a huge first half DePaul run.

"I just did what came to me and my teammates did a good job of finding me," said Jenkins. [Washington] left me open for the three."

A pair of free throws by Tia Walton (21 points and 10 rebounds) gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 14-11 with 11:15 left in the first half.

And then the desert sand turned into quicksand for Washington.

With Megan Rogowski on the DePaul bench with two fouls, Jessica January came off the bench to sink a three-pointer. Jenkins then went to work.

Her three three-pointers within three minutes keyed a 20-1 DePaul run as the Blue Demons led 34-18 with 4:11 left. DePaul was averaging 1.16 points per possession at that point in the game.

DePaul had 14 steals for the game, a good chunk of them coming during that span via its full-court press. The Huskies had been giving up 8.3 steals and committing 16.8 turnovers game. They committed 20 turnovers today.

"The pressure package laid it hard and heavy on Washington and their legs," said Bruno. "It took a little while to wear them down, and I attribute that to the commitment of the athletes on the floor."

The Huskies (5-4) were averaging 82 points in their last three games and had won five of their last six games.

"Coach has been pushing us in practice and in recent games to play better defense and rebound better, so I think we did a good job of communicating on defense," said Jenkins.

That communication on defense helped hold Washington's Wooden Award nominee and all-time leading scorer Jazmine Davis to 10 points, nine off her average.

Jenkins added seven rebounds and eight assists to the win. A triple-double would have been the first at DePaul since Diana Vines' feat on January 24, 1989.

DePaul had 26 assists on 30 baskets for the game.

Last year it might have been difficult to imagine DePaul with an 11 point halftime lead such as it had today (40-29), with Hrynko going scoreless in the first half.

Hrynko had a career-high 12 assists and a game-high four steals.

"Brittany Hrynko has just had three of her best basketball games while she has been at DePaul," said Bruno. "At halftime she was 0-5 from the field, but she was at an 11:1 assist to turnover ratio."

The last time these teams played each other was on December 21, 1990, a 77-53 Washington win. And for a little while in the second half, the Huskies made a good effort to repeat that result.

DePaul had its biggest lead at 56-40 with 13:32 left, but Walton's layup and three-pointer cut the lead to 56-47 with 8:46 left.

Rogowski's floater in the lane off a Jenkins assist stopped a 10-0 Huskies run. Washington got to within 69-63 on Kelsey Plum's free throws with just under one minute left, but Hrynko assisted with a beautiful pass to Rogowski (16 points) to boost DePaul's lead to 71-63 with forty seconds left.

And maturity comes from the bench as well.

DePaul came at the Huskies in a format not seen too much so far this season: in waves, with 21 bench points.

"We are getting some good bench play now," said Bruno. "We have a pretty solid nine-person rotation, with Kelsey Reynolds, Centrese McGee, Brandi-Harvey Carr, and Jessica January off the bench. Those four are huge off the bench."

Reynolds tied a career-high with three steals and tied a season-high with three assists in 17 minutes of play.

McGee tied a season-high with six points. She added seven rebounds.

Harvey-Carr was scoreless, but she did an admirable job of slowing down the Huskies' 6'3" Katie Collier in the post before Collier left the game for good after re-injuring her right knee midway through the first half.

January added 10 points.

DePaul (7-3) plays Louisiana-Monroe tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 CST. The Blue Demons will win the tournament with a victory.

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