Seniors Jessica January and Brooke Schulte scored 17 and 16 points each, fellow senior Jacqui Grant had 10 first quarter points, and DePaul had seven players in double figures as the Blue Demons beat Saint Francis 126-56 Friday night.
Bruno was adamant that the two opponents his team has played in exhibition games this season are a far cry from the competition his team will see later this season, but to play the No. 5 and No. 6 ranked teams in NAIA is where DePaul started this season.
And start was what Grant did not have early, being pulled early in the first quarter.
"Once I got pulled out [in the first quarter], I talked with the coaches and they said when I go back in 'we really need your energy, and that is something you can bring to the team,' " Grant said. "In warm ups I was not feeling as good about shooting as I was in the game, so when you get those [three-point shots] rolling, it really boosts your confidence."
And roll she did, and not just from behind the arc.
The Fighting Saints had closed to 13-10 with 3:19 left in the first quarter before Grant showed she is completely healthy from the concussion symptoms she experienced earlier in the week.
Her three-pointer off an assist from Amarah Coleman (17 points) ignited a 14-2 DePaul run. Following her three-pointer, Kelly Campbell stole the ball and passed it to Schulte, who then found Grant on the right wing for another three-pointer. That was followed by Grant's steal and a three-quarter court pass to Coleman for a fast-break lay up. Lauren Prochaska (six assists) then found Grant on the block for a lay up, and then Prochaska's steal and feed to Grant extended DePaul's lead to 27-12.
Saint Francis coach Samantha Quigley is No. 21 in scoring and No. 4 in assists all-time at DePaul. Bruno called her "one of the most special guards and captains I have had the privilege to coach, and I thank her for playing us."
But Quigley could not go home again tonight.
DePaul shot 63 percent from the floor for the game and 52.9 percent from behind the arc. And while official statistics are not kept for exhibition games, DePaul's 42 assists should be a single-game school record. The Blue Demons had 51 points off 35 turnovers in this, the first meeting ever between the two teams.
Schulte started strong again tonight, with five rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes of play.
"I am just trying to go out there and play as hard as I can," Schulte said. "[My play] has been [the result of] all the work we put in this summer, having the team altogether, and just becoming assimilated as one."
And that assimilation did not leave out the freshmen tonight.
"We got the freshmen some good quality time and getting to see how they have a chance to impact this team is really important," Bruno said.
Campbell scored a game-high 19 points on 7-9 shooting from the field to go along with a game-high nine assists. Her back-to-back three-pointers from the left corner gave DePaul a 111-52 lead with 5:20 left in the game.
Fellow freshmen Chante Stonewall added 15 points, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Stonewall showed a sharp eye, sending and receiving pinpoint passes in the paint.
Claire McMahon scored eight points and had six rebounds in 13 minutes of play, and Deja Cage rounded out the play of the freshmen with 11 points and two assists.
The four freshmen shot a combined 21-26 from the field.
DePaul leaves NAIA land tonight and travels to Division I territory next weekend at it hosts the Maggie Dixon Classic starting next Friday.