Schulte hit a key three-pointer with just under two minutes to play to help No. 23/22 DePaul earn a 61-56 win over Providence.
DePaul (11-4, 3-0 Big East), playing without Mart’e Grays, and starters Ashton Millender and Jessica January, struggled for most of the game to find anything that would lead to a win.
“To try and find some semblance of offensive cohesion and rhythm tonight was a major deal,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.
The Blue Demons had just four players in the scoring column and trailed 26-24 at the half; Schulte had 14 of her game-high 23 points at the break.
But for a team that won its first two Big East games by an average of 26.5 points, for three-and-a-half quarters tonight it looked like DePaul would not start conference play at 3-0 for the second straight year.
And for a team that is averaging 83.8 points per game, trailing 47-41 at the end of three quarters did not make things much brighter for DePaul. But It’s not just how much you score, but when you score that can also be important.
DePaul did not make its first field goal of the fourth quarter until Tanita Allen’s three-pointer at 3:02 cut the Friars lead to 54-52. Allen then blocked Yoyo Nogic’s jumper and Schulte curled around to the right wing and sank a three-pointer to give DePaul a 55-54 lead. Schulte then assisted on a fast break lay up by Amarah Coleman as DePaul stretched its lead to 57-54.
“I couldn’t even tell you who passed the ball to me, I think it was Kelly [Campbell], but they just hit me when I was open,” Schulte said.
Schulte averaged 19.3 ppg in her last four games.
“This is what [Brooke] is,” Bruno said. “We expected this out of Brooke the moment the season started. It was starting to come and we were all over her about being a major player.”
Millender is day-to-day with a strained left foot and January is to undergo surgery on Tuesday for a broken right index finger. January is in the Top 100 in six NCAA Division I statistical categories.
“We are still in a place of finding ourselves, and that is not an easy thing to do,” Bruno said.
Jacqui Grant scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
“We talked to Jacqui at halftime about [needing her to be productive], and I think she took it to heart,” Bruno said.
“We were not hitting shots, and we were not exactly doing what we wanted to do, but we came through,” Grant said.
Providence (9-5, 1-2 Big East) led for 23:36 of the contest.
“I think it’s always important that when an opponent plays a great ball game, like Providence did tonight, gets credit,” Bruno said. “I believed we were going to have a difficult game tonight because of the preseason record (8-3) Providence put together.”
“I also want to give credit to my own players for staying the course in a very difficult basketball game that could have been given up on when you are chasing at the 4:20 mark in [the fourth quarter],” Bruno said. “Our players stayed tough, they stayed resilient, and were able to make the plays necessary to be made down the stretch to win a good, close game.”
DePaul won its eleventh straight Big East regular season game and has won four straight games. The Blue Demons take on Creighton Wednesday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena.