Megan Rogowski and Megan Podkowa each scored 17 points for No. 25/25 DePaul as the Blue Demons beat the Hoyas 78-54 in Big East Tournament quarterfinal play at the Allstate Arena Sunday night.
Early round games have not been easy this year for favorites, as No. 4 ranked Stanford, No. 5 South Carolina, and No. 11 Penn State were quick to learn. And so it was early on tonight for DePaul.
The Blue Demons led 14-7 before the Hoyas went on an 11-0 run.
"We did not win it quickly and simply; it had to be ground out by defending and pressuring," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "I thought Megan Podkowa gave us a good inside lift early and Jasmine Penny was also strong early."
But then something Georgetown anticipated began to happen: turnovers.
The Hoyas committed 15 first half turnovers and had 28 for the game. They had been averaging 19.5 turnovers per game. DePaul scored 33 points off Georgetown turnovers.
The Big East Tournament record for turnovers in a game was set by Georgetown when it committed 33 versus Providence on March 2, 1991.
"I definitely feel like our turnovers were the number one reason why we lost this game, said Georgetown's Natalie Butler. "We knew going in that we could not turn the ball over. We were feeding off our early lead and once we started turning the ball over, things went downhill."
Podkowa then scored seven of DePaul's 11 points as the Blue Demons' 11-0 run helped them gain a 25-18 advantage with 4:44 left in the half.
"We were just trying to find the open areas in the zone and our guards were finding us," said Podkowa. "We were being aggressive and going up strong."
That aggressiveness and strength was evident also on the defensive end.
"We were trying to minimize and negate DePaul's pressure," said Georgetown coach Jim Lewis. " DePaul is a very good defensive team. A lot of people look at their [league leading] scoring average, but there is a means by which they get there, and that is their defense."
Podkowa helped hold Butler, the Big East's Freshman of the Year, to three points in the first half. Butler averages 14.2 ppg and 13.4 rpg. She finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
DePaul shot just 2-18 from three-point range in the first half. Their final figure of 19.4 percent (6-31) was its second lowest this year. The Big East Tournament record for three-point attempts in a game is 34, was set by Connecticut on March 7, 1993 versus Providence.
Rogowski made her first shot attempt of the game, a three-pointer, at 18:54 of the first half. She made her second three-pointer at 18:34 of the second half, giving DePaul a 36-22 lead. She was 1-7 from the field in the first half. She finished 6-12 from the field for the game.
"Everyone on the bench said to keep shooting," said Rogowski "Shooters shoot, and I was just going to shoot the open shot and in the second half they started to fall more."
Rogowski's three three-pointers places her third all-time at DePaul with 185.
DePaul's 16-4 run with roughly sixteen minutes left to play gave the Blue Demons a 49-26 lead. Butler picked up her fourth foul during that span and went to the bench.
Podkowa's three-pointer upped the lead to 61-42, and her three-point play off an assist from Kelsey Reynolds upped the lead to 66-43 with 7:23 left to play.
DePaul led 33-22 at the half.
Brittany Hrynko scored six points, but she notched a game-high five assists. Her three steals places her ninth all-time at DePaul.
And although the Hrynko tonight was not the scoring Hrynko, she was the passing Hrynko.
Her beautiful touch pass to Penny early in the game and her constant ability to find teammates on the break was again proof that she does not need to score to be effective.
"Brittany Hrynko had one of those games where she did it from an unsung point of view," said Bruno.
Penny added 14 points for DePaul and Jessica January added 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. DePaul out rebounded the Hoyas 49-36.
DePaul was presented before the game with its various team and individual conference honors.
Logan Battle led Georgetown with a game-high 20 points.
DePaul plays No. 5 Marquette, at 5:30 CST on Monday.
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