Despite not winning their third Big EastT tournament title in a row and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, DePaul was selected to the NCAA tournament for a school-record 14th straight year.
No. 6 seeded DePaul will play No. 11 seed James Madison this Fri. at 11:00 a.m. Central in Louisville.
The Dukes (27-5, 17-1 Colonial Athletic Conference), are receiving votes in the Associated Press poll, and have won their last 20 games. They are led by 6-foot 2 guard Jazmon Gwathmey (20.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg), 5-foot-8 senior guard Ashley Perez (14.1 ppg), and 5-foot-7 guard Angela Mickens (11.0 ppg). The Dukes are averaging 69.5 ppg and are giving up 54.1 ppg.
No. 20/21 DePaul (25-8, 16-2) has never been a No. 6 seed nor has it ever played a No. 11 seed in an NCAA tournament. The Blue Demons have won nine of their last 10 games.
The two teams have played once prior, an 89-75 DePaul win on Nov 27, 1999.
"I am always thrilled for our players because there are no guarantees that you can do this just because you did it last year," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. "I am always happy that each group gets to write their own legacy."
DePaul is one of six teams to have qualified for the NCAA tournament the last 14 years and is the only program- men's or women's- in Illinois to make the tournament this year.
The Blue Demons lost a chance for an automatic bid with a Big East tournament semi-final loss to St. John's, a loss still fresh in their minds.
"The loss to St. John's definitely motivates us, it refocused us, and it put us back on the right track and we realized that there are still teams that are going to want to [beat us]," said DePaul senior guard Chanise Jenkins.
Senior guard/forward Megan Podkowa attended the NCAA tournament party at DePaul prior to her freshman year at DePaul.
"I was thinking about that today, how I used to come here and watch the girls before they made [the tournament]," Podkowa said. "I was so excited for them and I could only imagine how excited they were. And now with my teammates, it is a great feeling and I am so excited.”
DePaul is 6-5 in its last six NCAA tournament appearances and has reached the Sweet 16 in two of its last six seasons.
"I think with most of our starting five having been to the tournament before so we know what we are playing for and how hard it is to make the tournament," Podkowa said.