Hrynko, January Lead DePaul in Win

CHICAGO - DePaul women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno let out a long sigh before tip-off in Wednesday’s Big East opener versus Butler. Brittany Hrynko and Jessica January helped him breathe easier the rest of the game.

Brittany Hrynko scored a game-high 28 points and Jessica January added 23 points as No. 25/24 DePaul beat Butler 92-76.

Butler (1-7, 0-1 Big East) came into the game having used five different starting lineups in seven games. The total amount of points scored by all players wearing a Butler uniform was 903. Hrynko had 1,401 career points coming into today’s game.

Hrynko has scored at least 19 points in four out of her last five games. Her three-pointer at 11:30 of the second half pushed her past Jasmine Penny and into 17th place all-time for scoring at DePaul. Her seven three-pointers today is a career-high.

DePaul (5-2, 1-0 Big East) placed four players in double figures, but the Blue Demons were breathing thin air in the first half.

“Butler did a great job of spreading the floor, spacing the floor, and pushing us in the first half,” said Bruno.

Ijeoma Uchendu’s back-to-back baskets gave the Bulldogs a 25-24 lead midway through the first half, and Butler extended its lead through the break. Uchendu finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. She became the first Big East player since March 10, 2013 to have a 20 point and 20 rebound game when she did so earlier this year in a loss to Fairfield.

Both teams had eight first half turnovers, and Butler led 47-41 at the break.

“Pressure is not just running around,” said Bruno. “There has to be some wisdom in what you are doing. We weren’t real sharp with some of our choices in the first half. When we got more intelligent with what we were trying to do, you saw the game turn.”

That sharpness of choices included getting guard January more touches in the paint. She finished with four rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

“Tonight I had a mismatch the majority of the game, so I was trying to score [in the paint],” said January.

DePaul played without two-time Big East Honor Roll selection Megan Podkowa, who injured a hamstring in practice earlier in the week. Brandi Harvey-Carr started in Podkowa’s place and had eight points and four rebounds.

The Bulldogs were No. 332 in the country in field goal percentage defense at 46.3 percent and in three-point field goal defense at 40.6 percent. DePaul shot 50 percent (34-68) from the field and 42.4 percent (14-33) from behind the arc.

DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins rebounded from a subpar game versus Northwestern to notch the game’s only double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Hrynko shot 9-11 from the field and 7-8 from behind the arc. DePaul had not led since 24-23 at 11:47 of the first half when her back-to back three pointers from opposite corners keyed an 11-0 DePaul run and a 62-54 lead over four minutes of the second half. DePaul’s smarter pressure kicked in, forcing five Butler turnovers in that span. The Bulldogs had been No. 16 in the country with just 12.1 turnovers per game. DePaul forced 19 turnovers today. Hrynko’s two free throws with two minutes left gave DePaul its biggest lead of 90-69.

DePaul is now 7-0 versus Butler, including four wins from 1985-86 when both teams were members of the North Star Conference.

Today was Field Trip Day for DePaul. The university sponsors Chicago-area school kids with tickets and transportation to the game, and all 4,000 of them made their presence heard.

The Blue Demons play their first road game of this season this Sunday at Chicago State.

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