In playing in the first year the NCAA has adopted quarters in lieu of halves, DePaul placed eight players in double figures and beat St. Xavier 135-64 in exhibition play Monday night at McGrath Phillips Arena.
DePaul won last year’s match up 119-58 in halves play.
“We enjoy playing quarters,” said DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins. “We are a running team and we are always going to be that way, and the new NCAA [rules] help us.”
And run DePaul did tonight.
The Blue Demons had 20 fast break points, 32 points off turnovers, and 72 points in the paint. DePaul held its largest lead of 75 points with 5:14 left to play in the game.
St. Xavier finished 31-4 last year, losing in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II tournament. Both teams lost firepower from last year, with DePaul losing AP All-America Honorable Mention selection Brittany Hrynko and one of its top career 3-pointer shooters in Megan Rogowski to graduation. The Cougars graduated three-time First Team All-America pick, Morgan Stuut.
DePaul started Jenkins, Megan Podkowa, Jessica January, Brooke Schulte, and Mart’e Grays. DePaul coach Doug Bruno said his team is built around Jenkins, Podkowa, and January, and the question is who else is going to step up.
Jenkins scored 16 points and had four assists and four steals, Podkowa scored 20 points and had 10 boards, and January had 23 points. There were glimpses tonight of who else might step up.
Sophomore Ashton Millender scored 20 points, shooting 6-10 from the field and 5-6 from the line. She attributes her play tonight to “my physical conditioning. I was not that fit last year, and I feel like it affected my game.”
Millender scored 29 points in a recent men’s scrimmage game, and Bruno said that she is “growing out of being a freshman into being a sophomore. That experience is unbelievable for a player to get on the floor and go against competition.”
Sophomore Lauren Prochaska added a game-high six assists in 24 minutes of play, and sophomore Grays added 15 points and six rebounds. Junior Brandi Harvey-Carr added 12 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes of play. Freshman Tanita Allen added 13 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
DePaul ended the first quarter in a flurry of offense, with Jenkins’ 3-pointer followed by Grays’ basket in the paint. January’s steal and layup with 28 seconds left was followed by Schulte’s put back at the buzzer off a Podkowa miss and a 34-17 DePaul lead. The Cougars chased a double-digit deficit the rest of the way.
January, coming off a late-season injury last year and a corresponding minimally productive stat line, showed none of that tonight. She was aggressive on both ends of the floor and added four assists and a game-high five steals.
“I felt good,” said January. “I think the whole team had a lot of energy. I was excited and happy to just have the opportunity to play healthy this year, and I am really looking forward to the season.”
DePaul finishes its exhibition this season against Lewis this Saturday in a women’s/men’s double header at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
- St. Xavier coach Bob Hallberg, who did not coach tonight due to an illness, and Bruno have a combined 942 career wins at their respective schools.