No. 21 DePaul found those pieces early and often, placing six players in double figure scoring, in beating St. Xavier 124-67 Tuesday night in the exhibition opener for both teams.
This is fifth year the two teams have played each other, with DePaul's winning all four prior games by an average margin of 50 points. The Blue Demons beat the Cougars 135-64 last season behind 23 points from Jessica January, 20 points from Ashton Millender, 13 points from Tanita Allen, and 11 points from Brooke Schulte.
Not much changed in that regard tonight.
Big East Preseason Player of the Year January had a game-high 24 points on 10-12 shooting from the floor and Schulte added 17 points on 6-10 shooting. Millender contributed 10 points despite a foot injury.
"[January] has been a real hard-working player for us, so she is the last person I am worried about having a few days off [before Friday's game]," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.
Old faces gave way to new faces early tonight, with DePaul substituting freely from the mid-first quarter on.
DePaul got 52 points from its bench, led by freshman Kelly Campbell's 15 points on 5-9 shooting from the floor to go along with nine rebounds and a team-high six assists in 29 minutes of play. Fellow freshman Deja Cage scored 12 points, Claire McMahon seven points, and Chante Stonewall added six points and eight rebounds.
" I thought [Campbell] played a poised and strong game tonight, and [Stonewall] gave us a lot of energy," Bruno said.
"[Playing with the freshman] is fun and a part of the game," January said. "They are picking up stuff like any other good basketball players do and it is just a matter of experience and seeing the rotations."
Amarah Coleman started for DePaul tonight and responded with 18 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
"[Coleman] has a lot of talent, " Bruno said. "[We need to] pull that talent out of her on a consistent basis possession by possession."
Jacqui Grant, coming off a concussion, had nine rebounds in 16 minutes of play.
The Blue Demons had 23 assists on 45 baskets and forced 27 Cougar turnovers. DePaul had its largest lead of 58 points with just under one minute to play.
St. Xavier is ranked No. 6 in this season's NAIA preseason poll. The Cougars finished 30-4 last season and played in their 14th consecutive NAIA Championship.
DePaul plays St. Francis, coached by former DePaul great Samantha Quigley, this Friday at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
- Megan Podkowa from last year's Sweet 16 team was in attendance.