Hrynko Steals Show; Bruno Wins No. 575

CHICAGO - Brittany Hrynko is perhaps making some Big East coaches rue their choice regarding the conference’s Pre-season Player of the Year.

Brittany Hrynko scored a game-high 22 points and tied a season-high and a McGrath-Phillips Arena high for steals with eight as DePaul beat Providence 90-42 Sunday afternoon, giving coach Doug Bruno his 575th win at DePaul.

Providence played without starters Tori Rule and Sarah Beal, both out with injuries. Rule is the Lady Friars’ 20th all-time leading scorer with 1,150 points. She and Beal average a combined 24 ppg this year.

“Providence had Seton Hall down 17 points, had St. John’s down 12 points late in the game [without Rule and Beal], and it beat Villanova [with those two],” said Bruno. “I was impressed with my players’ focus and readiness to play this week.”

And for DePaul, this game was won in one.

Hrynko scored her team’s first four points and her steal with 10:35 left in the game tied both of the records. She had 13 points and five assists in the first half as DePaul held Providence to a season-low 18 first half points. The Lady Friars’ 42 points is also a season-low.

“[The steals] were a team deal,” said Hrynko. “We were good defensively and I played the passing lanes well.”

DePaul (15-6, 7-2 Big East) had 10 of its 11 players who saw action record assists. Hrynko had a game-high nine of the Blue Demons’ 29 assists. DePaul forced 30 turnovers and scored 40 points off them. The Lady Friars had been averaging 16.9 turnovers per game.

Providence (5-15, 2-7 Big East) did not score its first basket until 16:40 and was held scoreless for the next seven minutes. A layup by Mart’e Grays off a steal by Hrynko off an inbounds pass gave the Blue Demons a 27-2 lead at 10:20. The Lady Friars scored back-to-back baskets one time in the first half. Providence has held a halftime lead in five of its seven conference games this year, but was down 49-18 today. The Lady Friars are second in the Big East in three-point field goal defense at 29.1 percent, but today DePaul shot 34.6 percent (9-26) from behind the arc.

The Blue Demons’ Megan Podkowa played again today with a clear face mask due to an injury, but she said the only thing about the mask that bothers her is wiping the sweat off it when she removes it. She shot 5-7 from the field today, scoring 13 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. She is 9-11 from the field in the last two games.

Creighton’s Marissa Janning was voted the Big East Pre-season Player of the Year, but is has been Hrynko who has excelled so far this year. She leads the conference in scoring at 22.6 and is second in steals and fourth in assists.

Hrynko’s stellar play today was best exemplified by her consecutive steals which led to assists on baskets by Jessica January and Brandi Harvey-Carr midway through the second half and gave DePaul a 70-31 lead. The Blue Demons had their largest lead of 50 points with 30 seconds to play.

DePaul got 31 bench points today, led by Brooke Schulte with 11. Grays had six, and Harvey-Carr had nine.

Lauren Prochaska added five points and three assists in 17 minutes of play. Starter Chanise Jenkins added 11 points in 20 minutes of play. January notched five assists, and DePaul’s assist/turnover ratio was an atmospheric 3.22.

The Blue Demons play next at home, facing Georgetown on Jan. 30 at 7:00 CT.

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