No. 19 DePaul put three players in double figures and got 28 bench points in beating Indiana University 84-69 Thursday night to advance to the preseason WNIT title game against No. 5 Baylor this Sunday in Waco, Texas.
DePaul (3-0) advanced to the WNIT title game against Purdue in 2010.
This game started as 91.0 versus 49.5. DePaul is No. 25 in the country in scoring and Indiana (2-1) was giving up less than 50 points per game. And it was the latter that gave way, especially in the third quarter as DePaul’s pressure finally caught up to the Hoosiers.
“We talked to our team about the press and about having composure and poise, and it just seemed like at every time out we continued to talk about composure and poise, and I thought that we lacked that tonight,” said Indiana coach Teri Moren. “I thought we looked fatigued and I think a part of that was what DePaul put on us defensively and it sped us up.“
DePaul forced 23 turnovers and scored 28 points off them to go along with 13 steals.
Inspiration can come from unlikely sources. Good basketball play, too.
“I thought our bench was huge tonight,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “I was able to substitute and not worry about it. Brandi Harvey-Carr gave us great minutes off the bench. Tanita Allen responded and had a good second quarter and Lauren Prochaska held the fort for us. Ashton Millender is our fourth bench player, and I thought they were all key to the game.”
DePaul was down 21-20 at the start of the second quarter before Harvey-Carr’s steal and layup off an assist from Prochaska gave DePaul a 22-21 lead. But the spark for DePaul that ignited this win may have been Prochaska’s steal and assist on a fast-break layup by Harvey-Carr and a 25-21 DePaul lead. Millender (career-high 15 points) drilled consecutive 3-pointers and those were followed by Allen’s 3-pointer, a Brooke Schulte jumper, and a layup by Allen for a 40-37 DePaul lead.
Megan Podkowa led DePaul with 16 points and Schulte added 13 points. Podkowa’s layup at 8:41 of the first quarter moved her past Anne McDonald and into 31st place in scoring all-time at DePaul with 1,037 points. DePaul shot 46.7 percent from the field for the game. Indiana had been holding opponents to 31.7 percent shooting from the floor.
The Hoosiers beat No. 24 Chattanooga 54-43 on Tues. night, their first win over a ranked non-conference opponent since beating Nebraska in Dec. 2010. But any hope they had of making it two in a row disappeared in the third quarter tonight.
Jessica January scored her first points of the night at 8:42 of the quarter, pushing DePaul’s lead to 44-39. Schulte’s beautiful pass to January underneath resulted in a 3-point play, and DePaul led 51-44, scoring more points at this point than Indiana had been giving up in an entire game. Podkowa’s 22-footer was followed by January’s pass to Mart’e Grays underneath and DePaul had its largest lead up to that point at 56-44. Podkowa grabbed the ball after Allen had her shot blocked and sank an off balance 10-footer as time expired in the quarter. DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins had raced the length of the floor for a buzzer-beating layup to end the first quarter.
DePaul is now 2-2 versus the Hoosiers, with two of the prior three meetings decided by a total of two points. This was Bruno’s first game coaching against Indiana.
Indiana shot 54.9 percent from the field for the game, but had 17 fewer possessions and got up 24 fewer shots than DePaul. The Blue Demons shot 32.4 percent (11-34) from behind the arc.
DePaul opened the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run, highlighted by Millender’s 3-point play to give DePaul an 82-62 lead with 2:31 to play.
The Blue Demons face off versus Baylor this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Central. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. The Bears beat No. 19/17 South Florida 66-63 Thursday night to advance to the title game.