Jessica January scored a game-high 19 points and Megan Podkowa added 14 points and 13 rebounds as 22nd ranked DePaul advanced to the preseason WNIT Final Four with a 77-54 win versus St. Bonaventure Sunday afternoon at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
St. Bonaventure (1-1) had allowed just 59.8 ppg last year, and it held opponents to a 36.2 percent field goal percentage, the latter the second lowest in Division I behind George Washington. The Bonnies held Siena to to 26.5 percent field goal shooting and 1-16 from 3-point range in their opening round win versus Sienna.
And for 10 minutes tonight, those numbers looked replicative.
“St. Bonaventure did what St. Bonaventure does, and that is turn the game into a grinding game,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “We worked to make it a DePaul ballgame and a free-flowing game.”
DePaul (2-0) led 17-11 after the first quarter, one in which St. Bonaventure had a scoring drought of 5:15 and DePaul a scoring drought of 2:00. The teams had a combined seven turnovers in the first five minutes.
But grind gave way to free-flowing as DePaul opened the second quarter on a 12-2 run. Mart’e Grays’ (13 points) 3-pointer at 7:53 gave DePaul its biggest lead up to that point at 24-11. Jenkins behind-the-back pass to Grays for a layup on a fast break midway through the quarter was the visual highlight of the game. The Bonnies had four turnovers in the last 4:02 of the quarter as they started to feel the grind of DePaul’s full court press.
“The [tempo] was a little tougher, but we were still trying to get the tempo going with our full court press,” said January. “We did whatever we could to speed [the game] up.”
The Bonnies committed 25 turnovers for the game and DePaul had 13 steals and 27 points off turnovers.
St. Bonaventure’s Katie Healy, a two-time All-Atlantic 10 selection, was held to six points.
DePaul is now 5-1 in preseason WNIT games.
Chanise Jenkins’ (13 points and a game-high tying six assists) layup to start the game’s scoring moved her past Katherine Harry and into 29th place on DePaul’s all-time scoring list.
January’s back court steal and feed to Brandi Harvey-Carr gave DePaul a 50-31 lead in the third quarter. January followed with a three-pointer and Brooke Schulte’s layup pushed the lead to 55-37. DePaul shot just 2-15 (13 percent) from 3-point range in the first half. The Blue Demons shot 42.6 from the floor for the game.
The teams shot a combined 8-39 from 3-point range for the game.
The Bonnies closed to 55-43 on a layup by Healy at 7:04 of the fourth quarter, but Podkowa’s 3-pointer was part of a 7-0 DePaul run and a 62-43 lead with 5:34 to play.
DePaul plays the winner of Tuesday’s Indiana/Chattanooga matchup on Thursday, with time and location to be det t:bold'>DePaul plays the winner of Tuesday’s Indiana/Chattanooga matchup on Thursday, with time and location to be determined.