DePaul Zings Xavier; Podkowa Hurt

CHICAGO - DePaul tuned up for a crucial road trip with games versus St. John’s and Seton Hall by beating Xavier, but the road out east may have gotten even tougher for the Blue Demons.

Jessica January scored a game-high 20 points and had a career-high seven assists to help DePaul beat Xavier 84-61 Sunday afternoon at McGrath-Phillips Arena. DePaul starting forward Megan Podkowa was injured midway through the first half and did not return.

DePaul (12-5, 4-1 Big East) was playing without guard Megan Rogowski, who was lost for the season last week with a torn ACL. But any pressure the Blue Demons felt from that subtraction was added on to Xavier (11-6, 3-3 BIG EAST) as the Blue Demons forced a Musketeers’ season-high 29 turnovers to go along with 20 steals. Xavier had been averaging 17.4 turnovers per game. DePaul leads the country in turnover margin at +12.63 and its margin today was +16.

The Musketeers’ Leah Schaefer leads the Big East in field goal percentage at 55.2 and her teammate, Maleeka Kynard, leads the conference in three-point field goals percentage at 46.2. Schaefer was held to four points on 2-5 from the field and Kynard did not attempt a three-point shot.

“Everyone did a great job rotating and knowing when to come up in our pressure,” said DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins.

DePaul jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes, with January and Brittany Hrynko scoring 10 points between them. Jenkins’ steal- DePaul’s seventh of the game and Xavier’s twelfth turnover- and lay up at 9:42 gave the Blue Demons a 24-10 lead. Xavier is 4-1 this year in games decided by 1-4 points.

Podkowa injured her left knee at 7:42 and was helped off the court and in obvious pain. She spent the rest of the game with an ice pack and then a sleeve on the knee. Her injury status is not known. She will undergo an MRI on Monday. She is fourth in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage at 52.3.

“We were put in a position to have to deal with the adversity of losing a very important player in Megan Podkowa, so right on the fly it is one thing to have to re-tool during the week, which is hard, but you have to re-tool on the fly as well,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “That is what we were forced to deal with today.”

DePaul outrebounded Xavier 35-34, with Brandi Harvey-Carr securing a game-high eight boards. Xavier is 8-0 this year when out-rebounding its opponent.

The Musketeers are averaging 66.2 ppg. DePaul leads the nation in scoring at 90.4 ppg and was aiming for a school-record three consecutive games of scoring 100+ points. The Blue Demons led 74-55 with 6:31 remaining, but scored only four points over the next three minutes.

DePaul opened up the second half on a 15-5 run to lead 52-26 at 16:39. Xavier’s 21 first half points is a season-low. The Blue Demons led for 39:54, with the other six seconds a tie game. DePaul now leads the series 8-1.

Hrynko leads the Big East in scoring at 20.0 ppg and in assists at 5.30. She had 14 points, four assists, and four steals. Jenkins added 16 points and a game-high five steals. Brooke Schulte contributed 13 points and five rebounds off the bench.

DePaul plays at St. John’s (3-1 Big East) on January 16th and at Seton Hall (3-1 Big East) on January 18th.

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