DePaul Clinches Big East Tie on Senior Day

CHICAGO - At the end of Sunday’s DePaul/Marquette game, a member of the DePaul band shouted towards DePaul head coach Doug Bruno, “Bruno, good job.” Bruno later said where the true greatness, not goodness, of this game, and of team lay: DePaul seniors Brittany Hrynko, Megan Rogowski, and Centrese McGee.

Brittany Hrynko scored 19 points and McGee scored five points and grabbed four rebounds as DePaul beat Marquette 99-82, clinching a regular season tie for first place with Seton Hall in the Big East. The Blue Demons were regular season champions last year, and this title marks the first back-to-back regular season conference titles for DePaul in the school’s 40-year history.

“Every senior group is special, but this is a group that really disrupted playing at home in a NCAA tournament last year with their win in the tournament against Duke and their win over Oklahoma,” said Bruno. “They have done some things that we have never done before.”

Rogowski tore an ACL earlier in the year, but there she was today, giving the team instructions in the player huddle before tip-off on how Marquette would come out rebounding hard. DePaul out-rebounded Marquette 47-46 for the game.

Chanise Jenkins added a career-high 24 points and Megan Podkowa tied a career-high with 24 points for DePaul, while Brooke Schulte scored 17 points off the bench.

DePaul (23-7, 15-3), as the No. 2 seed, plays the winner of the Xavier/Georgetown game this Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. CST at Allstate Arena in a Big East tournament quarterfinal match up. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports 2.

Jenkins started the game by making all three free throws after being fouled by Arlesia Morse on the game’s first shot, a 3-pointer from the right wing. Those free throws started an 8-0 DePaul run and the Blue Demons led 11-3 three minutes into the game.

Marquette (8-21, 4-14) is ranked No. 259/343 in the country in 3-point field goal defense at 32.8 percent, but in the first half DePaul shot just 22.7 percent (5-22).

The Golden Eagles had made only three of their last nine field goals at 4:55 of the first half, yet trailed just 34-27. A Jenkins’ 3-pointer and her steal and layup padded DePaul’s lead to 44-31 at 2:55. Marquette closed the first half shooting 9-10 from the field and it held DePaul scoreless for the last 1:23 as the Blue Demons led 46-43 at the break. Marquette shot 48.6 from the field in the first stanza compared to 36.7 for DePaul.

DePaul leads Division I in turnover ratio at +11.66, the largest margin, and the only double-digit margin, since the NCAA began recording the statistic in 2009. The Blue Demons ratio today was +10.0.

Hrynko’s layup gave DePaul a 57-50 lead four minutes into the second half while Marquette missed its next five shots over the next 1:15. DePaul went on a 9-0 run, with Jenkins adding two free throws for a 66-52 DePaul lead at 12:49. Marquette countered with a 13-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Morse, to close to 68-65 midway through half.

“It was us staying together, telling each other we needed a stop and score,” said Hrynko of DePaul’s mindset at the time.

Schulte answered with a 3-pointer, and Hyrnko’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 74-68 as both teams shot a combined 9-9 from the field during that span. Jenkins’ field goal capped a 9-0 DePaul run, with Marquette committing four of its 18 turnovers during that run, and gave DePaul an 82-68 lead. Podkowa’s three-point play off an assist from Hrynko upped the lead to 89-74 at the five minute mark.

Marquette is ranked No. 339/343 in scoring defense at 77.3 ppg. Morse is No. 4 in the country and No. 1 in the Big East in free throw percentage at 92.1 percent, but she did not attempt a free throw today. Kenisha Bell led the Golden Eagles with 19 points.

Hrynko’s layup off an assist from McGee at 6:02 of the second half moved her into 16th place all-time in the Big East with 1,080 points. Hrynko needs 89 points to become DePaul’s fifth 2,000 point scorer.

DePaul leads the country in assists per game at 20.1 The Blue Demons had 22 assists today. According to NCAA statistics, DePaul’s 20.1 assists is the third highest of any team since Connecticut’s 21.7 in 2002.

“I trust I helped all three of them with my toughness and prepared them for the tougher times that are going to happen after [they leave here],” said Bruno.

Based on the following statistics, he did a great job.

Brittany Hrynko: Five-time Big East Player of the Year in a single season, the last one since Connecticut’s Maya Moore in 2010. Is the first DePaul player to enter the Top 20 in scoring in the Big East. Was selected this year for the Wooden Late Season Top 20, Naismith Trophy Women’s Mid-season Top 30 , and the Dawn Staley Mid-season Award List. Selected as the Big East Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year with a 3.305 grade point average. A three-time Big-East All-Academic honoree.

“I was happy and sad [in the game’s final minutes], knowing it was the final game here and playing with these two,” said Hrynko.

Megan Rogowski: As a junior, was No. 7 in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 38.6 percent. Notched six 3-pointers in DePaul’s second round NCAA tournament win versus Duke last year. Holds DePaul’s single season record for 3-pointers with 114. Holds McGrath-Phillips Arena record with eight 3-pointers versus Providence on January 8, 2014. Won the Shirley Becker Academic Award as a sophomore. Scored 1,144 points at DePaul. Is one of ten finalists this year for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors the senior student-athlete who contributes on the court, classroom and in the community. Made 243 career 3-pointers, third most all-time at DePaul.

”Once coach started making the substitutions [today], I teared up a little bit,” said Rogowski. “But I have had a great career here. We have had a lot of fun together and I am very thankful for it.”

Centrese McGee: Started 17 games this year. Averages 13.4 minutes per game, but is the team’s third leading rebounder. Was named to the Big East All-Academic team as a junior. Ranked No. 13 in the Big East in steals as a junior. She starts work next year on a Master’s degree.

“I did not start out with these two players, but it was great to end with them,” said McGee.

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