Megan Podkowa and Jessica January were named to the All-Tournament team as DePaul (2-1) beat New Mexico 97-59 in the third and final day of the Maggie Dixon Classic.
The tournament’s new format this year had participants playing three games in three days, and DePaul’s energy today helped it to take second place.
“I thought our players did a good job of refocusing after Friday and coming back and having a good focus yesterday and today,” said Bruno.
Focus, yes, and also pressure.
New Mexico (0-3) averaged 16.3 turnovers per game last year, but today the Lobos broke a 11-year old McGrath-Phillips Arena record with 39 turnovers. DePaul scored 51 points off turnovers.
“We are expecting people to not be in the condition we are in,” said Bruno. “Over time you have to expect there will be a wear-out factor.”
Podkowa carried over her stellar performance from last night, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds.
“I don’t think I worked as hard in the Texas A&M as I did these past two games,” said Podkowa. “A point of emphasis was for me to get in the post. The guards did a really good job of getting me the ball.”
January scored 51 points in the three games. She scored 15 tonight to go along with six boards, four assists, and three steals.
“I definitely feel more comfortable playing this year, and being more familiar with my teammates and having more confidence both offensively and defensively,” said January.
DePaul’s depth from last night carried over to tonight, with Brittany Hrynko scoring a game-high 19 points. Megan Rogowski scored 17 points and her minutes increased over the three nights. Brandi-Harvey Carr added 10 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
New Mexico had its last lead of the game at 13-10 at 13:48 of the first half. A turning point then occurred eight minutes later when Bruno put in reserve, Centrese McGee.
McGee’s steal and pass led to a three-pointer by January sparked DePaul, which had been understandably sluggish through that point. In the last 3:24 of the first half McGee blocked an inbounds pass, had a steal, scored on a lay up, and assisted on a basket by Hrynko to help DePaul to a 45-35 halftime lead. McGee finished with six points, a team-high seven boards, and three steals.
“We gave the game ball to Centrese McGee for her energy,” said Bruno. “I thought she was really instrumental in helping us keep that energy alive.”
New Mexico shot 46.2 percent from the field compared to the Blue Demons’ 46.5 percent, but DePaul got up 25 more shots than the Lobos. In a foul-plagued first half, both teams were in the bonus at the 12:00 mark. New Mexico was No. 61 in the country last year in rebounding margin at +4.5, and tonight it won the rebounding battle 45-40.
The Lobos started the second half on a 7-0 run, but DePaul countered with a 26-9 run which ended with a Podkowa three-pointer to give DePaul an 81-55 lead with 8:55 left.
DePaul scored 38 points in the paint. Mart’e Grays scored seven points and had three rebounds in 10 minutes of play.
“We know that we have to develop an interior game that is just more than Megan Podkowa,” said Bruno. “I thought Brandi-Harvey Carr’s and Mart’e Grays’ minutes were very important and I thought they showed some signs of progress in game two and today.”
DePaul plays Bradley this Tuesday night as part of a doubleheader with the men’s team at Allstate Arena.
Texas A&M won the tournament, beating Texas Pan-Am 63-61 in the first game today. A&M’s Courtney Walker was named the tournament’s MVP.
The tournament honors former Blue Demon assistant Maggie Dixon, who died on April 6, 2006 of cardiac arrhythmia. Her death came three weeks after concluding her first season as the head coach at Army, which saw the Black Knights earn their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“What made [Maggie] so special was her love of life and her genuine caring for all kinds of people,” said Bruno. “She was one of those people that infected other people by caring for them, and yet she was still a fun, happy person.”
DePaul Numbs New Mexico 97-59
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