Podkowa, Schulte Silence St. John’s

CHICAGO - The DePaul women’s basketball team went from dissolution to resolution in less than 48-hours Sunday afternoon.

Megan Podkowa and Brooke Schulte recorded double-doubles as DePaul bounced back from a last-second loss Friday night and beat St. John’s 82-55 at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

“On Friday night we blew a 20-point lead and lost the game at the buzzer,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “I thought [the players] did a really good job of refocusing, reconnecting, and bringing a readiness, which was very important.”

Podkowa scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. She and Schulte combined for 22 of DePaul’s 38 rebounds as the Blue Demons won the board battle, 38-29. The pair shot 13-21 from the field.

“It was important that we get off to a good rebounding start and I think Brooke and Megan had a lot to do with that,” said Bruno.

St. John’s (17-8, 8-6) Amber Thompson came into the game leading the Big East in rebounding at 11.2 per game, in field goal percentage at 60.3 percent, and in blocked shots with 2.8 per game. She was held to five points on 2-6 from the field and had no blocks. She needs five more rebounds to become the first Red Storm player to have more than 1,000 career rebounds.

“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a huge rebounding game,” said Podkowa. “I think we all had the mindset that we had to keep them off the glass to win the game.”

Schulte grabbed her career-high ninth rebound at 6:33 of the first half and her jumper on DePaul’s next possession gave the Blue Demons a 31-11 lead. She finished with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

“I focused on the little things and how I could help my team in that way,” said Schulte. “I brought aggression to rebounding and I wanted to focus on playing defense and getting stops. [Scoring-wise] I was just trying to read screens more and to see the opening, and the guards got me the ball when I was open.”

DePaul (20-7, 12-3) capped a 15-0 run on Chanise Jenkins’ (15 points and four assists) two free throws at 8:07 to give the Blue Demons a 27-9 lead. St. John’s was scoreless over the last 6:51, shooting 2-10 and committing five turnovers during that span.

St. John’s came into the game No. 2 in the Big East in scoring defense at 58.8 ppg and in field goal percentage defense at 38.3 percent. DePaul shot 52.5 percent (32-61) from the field and 42.3 percent (11-26) from behind the arc for the game.

Thompson’s layup capped an 8-0 Red Storm run to cut DePaul’s lead to 31-17 with 3:15 left in the first half, but St. John’s finished the first half 0-5 from the field to trail 38-20 at the half, the second-lowest Red Storm first half point total this year.

Danaejah Grant’s three-point play brought the Red Storm to within 48-36 midway through the second half as DePaul was held scoreless over the last 5:12. Mart’e Grays broke that scoring drought with a layup off an assist from Brittany Hrynko at 10:35.

Grays scored a first half-high nine points and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Her layup in the final minute finished off DePaul shooting 7-7 from the field to end the game.

Hrynko leads the Big East in scoring at 21.9 ppg, but held to seven points today. She recorded a game-high seven of DePaul’s 18 assists. She needs 170 points to become the fifth player in DePaul history to score 2,000 points, and she needs 13 three-pointers to tie the Big East record for triples with Sugar Rogers (168) of Georgetown. Hrynko’s layup off an assist from Jenkins capped a 21-3 DePaul run and gave the Blue Demons a 74-45 lead with just under three minutes remaining.

The Red Storm’s Aliyyah Handford is No. 2 in the Big East in scoring at 20.7 ppg. She was held to nine points on 3-9 shooting from the field. Grant scored a game-high 22 points for the Red Storm. Handford and Grant are the third-highest scoring pair of teammates in the country. St. John’s leads the Big East in field goal percentage at 43.7 percent, but was held to 40.4 percent (21-52) today.

DePaul travels to play Creighton, winners of five straight, this Friday at 7:00 CT.

This game was DePaul’s Play 4Kay event in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Both teams wore pink-themed uniforms. The 2015 Play 4Kay initiative is an opportunity for women’s basketball coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research. Since its inception in 2007, the Play 4Kay initiative has raised over $3.9 million to support women's cancer research.

Yow was born in 1942 and died from breast cancer on January 24, 2009. She had been diagnosed with the disease in 1987.

Yow coached the North Carolina State women's basketball team from 1975-2009. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, Yow finished with a collegiate coaching record of 737-344. She ranked as the fifth winningest active NCAA Division I women's basketball coach at the time of her death. She also coached the U.S.A. women's basketball team to an Olympic gold medal in Seoul in 1988.

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