DePaul bounced back from a loss at Marquette that snapped its nine-game win streak and beat Butler 97-64 Saturday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena. The Blue Demons got a game-high 22 points from Megan Rogowski, a game-high nine assists from Chanise Jenkins, and a season-high 17 points from freshman Jessica January.
"It was really important that we get back on track after the tough night we had at the hands of Marquette on Tuesday," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno.
DePaul and Butler were members of the North Star Conference from 1984-1986. DePaul won the first match up between the two teams, 61-56, the closest game of the four meetings in that conference.
Tonight's game was that close for roughly four minutes.
Butler took a 4-2 lead on a jumper by Haley Howard at 16:10 before a three-pointer by Brittany Hrynko launched a 36-4 DePaul run, giving the Blue Demons 31-8 lead with 9:53 left in the half.
Hrynko picked up her second foul early in the run, with January subbing in for her.
January hit a jumper in the lane and followed that by intercepting a Butler pass on the sideline in mid-air, and throwing a pass to DePaul's Kelsey Reynolds in the same motion. Jenkins then took the pass from Reynolds and assisted on January's layup.
January is averaging 10.1 ppg over her last eight games, and she is making a strong push to follow former DePaul players China Threatt and Taylor Pikes as the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year.
"If you look at [January's] numbers comprehensively, she is scoring the ball, she is rebounding, and she is defending," said Bruno. "She is the most comprehensive Sixth Man of the the Year," said Bruno.
Jenkins' assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.72 is No. 11 in Division I. She has just 51 turnovers, including only one tonight, for the year.
"I take a lot of pride in that ratio," said Jenkins. "I love getting my teammates the ball, but at the same time I have to get them the ball efficiently and put them in places to score."
"I definitely get in synch with some players for assists, knowing where they are going to be, but at the same time, if you are open you are going to get the ball," said Jenkins. "And that is my job, getting them the ball."
The run also included three-pointers by Jasmine Penny and consecutive three-point plays by Megan Podkowa and Rogowski.
Rogowski did not hit attempt her first three-pointer until 5:19 of the first half, but she finished 8-10 from the field and 5-6 (83 percent) from behind the arc. Her three-point field goal percentage tonight ties ex-DePaul great Allie Quigley for highest three-point field goal percentage by a DePaul player in a single game at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
"We share the ball well [DePaul had 25 assists on 38 field goals] and people find shots," said Rogowski. "We were able to run the floor tonight and that happens to open up the opportunity for kick outs at the three-point line."
Her five three pointers ties her with Ashley Luke (86) for fifth most in a single season at DePaul.
DePaul's 51-24 halftime lead was the third-highest point total by DePaul in a first half this year and the fourth-lowest point total by a DePaul opponent. January's 21-footer with seven seconds left in the half gave her 13 first-half points.
Butler (12-14, 7-8 Big East) got no closer than 25 points in the second half and DePaul had its biggest lead of 34 points with 17:30 remaining.
DePaul got 40 bench points tonight, and is now 14-1 this year when outscoring its opponent in bench points. In addition to January's performance, which also included three assists and two steals, the Blue Demons got six points each from Brandi Harvey-Carr and Kelsey Smith, and two points from three steals from Centrese McGee.
McGee got the loudest response from the crowd of 2,821, when at 3:35 of the first half she stole a pass at half court, then dribbled behind her back in full stride and fed the ball to Jenkins, who returned it to McGee for a lay up and a 41-22 lead.
The Blue Demons shot 51.8 percent from the field and 56.5 percent from behind the arc.
In the first meeting between the two teams this year, DePaul forced 18 turnovers in its win. Butler had been averaging 10 turnovers per game in its last six games, but DePaul forced the Bulldogs into 25 turnovers tonight.
Hrynko had a game-high five steals tonight and she leads the Big East in steals at 2.5 per game. Butler had a team total of five steals. DePaul converted those turnovers into 32 points.
Daress McClung and Taylor Schippers each scored 15 points for the Bulldogs. Liz Stratman, who leads the Big East in blocked shots at 2.5 per game, scored 12 points and blocked three shots.
Butler wore pink uniforms, as it has during the entire month of February, the month designated by the WBCA as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Butler coach Beth Couture was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 2009. She has been cancer-free since 2010.
DePaul (21-6, 12-3 Big East) plays at Villanova on Feb. 25 and at St. John's on March 1st before returning home for the final regular season game, Senior Night versus Georgetown, on March 4th at 8:00 CST.
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