DePaul Bounces Back, Trounces Loyola

CHICAGO - DePaul showed last Wednesday it can physically compete with one of the top teams in the country. This Wednesday the Blue Demons showed they can psychologically compete with themselves.

Jessica January scored a career-high 25 points and No. 25/25 DePaul rebounded from an overtime loss to No. 5/4 Notre Dame to beat Loyola 109-84 at the Gentile Center.

“Last week’s loss was one of the tougher ones we have had at DePaul,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “It was good for these players to get back on the floor and play basketball.”

This was the 42nd meeting between the two teams, with DePaul (7-3) now leading the series 33-9, and having won the last 12 games. But there is precedent for potential problems against the Ramblers, with the Blue Demons winning 70-65 in 2011 and 68-64 in 2008. Any problems the Blue Demons had today were limited to the first half.

Loyola (2-7) entered the game averaging 50.4 ppg and had averaged 35 ppg in its last two games, both losses. The Ramblers shot 63 percent from the field in the first half today, a season-high for a DePaul opponent. Becca Smith scored 21 first half points for Loyola. But in what proved to be a precursor to the second half for Loyola, the Ramblers were 9-10 from the field including 4-4 from beyond the arc with 10:49 left in the first half, but still trailed 32-23. DePaul shot a first half season-high 61 percent from the field.

DePaul’s Brittany Hrynko scored 15 points and tied a season-high with eight assists. Her reverse layup two minutes into the game moved her past Allie Quigley and into 15th place all-time in scoring at DePaul. She has 1,472 in her collegiate career. Hrynko lost her shoe but still scored on a fast break layup for a 93-76 DePaul lead with 6:36 left.

The Blue Demons’ 16 three-pointers ties a school record and its 30 assists ties for fifth all-time.

January scored on a three-pointer for a 44-34 DePaul lead with 2:16 left in the first half before the Ramblers used an 8-2 run to close to 53-49 with 1:03 left. January’s three-pointer and a layup by Megan Podkowa helped DePaul to a 58-51 halftime lead.

The Blue Demons’ 109 points is the most they have scored since 2007 versus Appalachian State, and the most they have scored in the Loyola series.

“It’s human nature if you are playing Notre Dame and UConn and then sandwiched in between is a real good competitive program you are going to have a letdown,” said Bruno.

There was no letdown in the second half, as Smith was held scoreless in the stanza, and DePaul forced 14 turnovers and had eight steals.

“[My scoring] was due to all my other teammates, ” said January. “Megan Rogowski and Brittany Hrynko were hitting three-pointers and Megan [Podkowa] was getting in to the post. [With Loyola] left stopping Megan [Rogowski] and Brittany, that left me open at times and Brittany found me quite a few times for the threes. ”

January’s three-point play off an assist from Podkowa gave DePaul a 78-65 lead with 13:22 to play, and the Blue Demons finished the game on a 31-19 run. January finished 8-16 from the field including 4-7 from behind the arc to go along with six assists.

Rogowski added 21 points, Podkowa scored 14 points and nabbed a team-high seven boards, and Chanise Jenkins notched 10 points and five assists for DePaul.

Loyola is now 41-6 over the past four-plus seasons when scoring at least 70 points. DePaul is No. 3 in the country in points per game at 89.6.

DePaul travels to play No. 2 UConn this Friday at 6:30 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on SNY and on ESPN3. UConn is No. 1 in the country in field goal percentage at 52.3; No. 2 in scoring margin at 35.2; and No. 4 in points per game at 89.3.


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