No. 25/24 DePaul forced a season-high 43 turnovers, and Megan Podkowa returned from a hamstring injury to score a game-high 22 points as the Blue Demons beat Chicago State 87-34 on Sunday at the Jones Convocation Center.
The 34 points is the lowest by a DePaul opponent since Loyola scored 30 points versus the Blue Demons on December 4, 2009, and the final margin tied for night lowest all-time. Chicago State holds the biggest losing margin versus DePaul, a 101-23 loss on December 14, 1978.
But it was not always this way for Chicago State (0-7).
In 1976, DePaul coach Doug Bruno’s first year at DePaul, the Cougars beat the Blue Demons 97-44. Chicago State coach Angela Jackson was at the helm in 2011, when her team won the Great West conference regular season and conference tournament titles and advanced to the WBI Final Four.
“When college basketball started here in Illinois, [Chicago State] was a great program,” said Bruno. “Vivica Green and Kathy Cunningham were their two great players. I think [at that first game] we probably got beat by 50. We were a little bit behind at that time and we got good a couple of years later.”
Since 1976 DePaul has won the last 10 meetings between the two teams. The teams have not played one another since 2007, a 91-59 DePaul win. The closest the Cougars have gotten since that 1976 win has been a 77-71 loss in 2006.
The Cougars have been outscored 250-129 in first halves this year, and tonight was not much different, down 44-19 at the break. The 19 points is a season-low for a DePaul opponent this year.
DePaul (6-2) forced six turnovers in the game’s first two minutes, and jumped out to a 17-0 lead.
Chicago State is last in Division I three-point field goal percentage at 47.7 percent, and it did not take long for DePaul to hit its first three-pointer, a Megan Rogowski jumper from the top of the key at 18:05. The Blue Demons shot 24.1 percent (7-29) from behind the arc for the game. The Cougars got back-back baskets at 13:14, but scored consecutive baskets only twice more in the first half.
“I really wanted our players to stay focused and to use the game as a get-ready game for Notre Dame,” said Bruno.
DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins sustained a bloody nose during a battle for a rebound five minutes into the game and did not return. She had five steals and two assists in those five minutes. She was taken to the hospital for stitches.
Rogowski and Jessica January had each scored in double figures in each game this year, but that streak was broken tonight as Rogowski scored 11 points and January finished with eight points. Both players saw less than 20 minutes playing time each.
Brittany Hrynko added 13 points, a game-high four assists, and three steals in 18 minutes of play for DePaul.
Mart’e Grays scored 16 points off the bench. DePaul had a season-high 25 steals for the game. Chicago State had two assists on 12 baskets.
Podkowa played a team-high 23 minutes in an effort to get her back into game shape. She shot 9-15 from the field and had five rebounds.
“I felt a little out of shape because I had not been practicing,” said Podkowa. “As the game went along my hamstring got looser and I was able to be more explosive.”
DePaul returns home this Wednesday to take on No. 2/1 Notre Dame at 8:00 CT. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 2.
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