Blue Demons Take Rainbow Wahine Championship

HONOLULU, Hawai'i – A strong second-half effort on the defensive end of the floor propelled No. 17/17 (AP/Coaches) DePaul to a 76-57 win over Wisconsin in the championship game of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. Khara Smith was named the tourney's MVP after posting three double-doubles, including 24 points and 10 rebounds in the finale.

DePaul held Wisconsin without a field goal over the first four minutes and built a 6-0 lead. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jenna Rubino pushed the Blue Demons ahead to 12-6 before the Badgers scored six straight points to tie the game with just over 12 minutes on the clock.

Wisconsin (4-1) surged ahead with a Jolene Anderson three-pointer, but Erin Carney hit short turnaround jumper and Allie Quigley followed with a baseline lay-up and fast break lay-up to put the Blue Demons back ahead, 23-21, forcing a Badger time out with 7:08 left in the half.

Within seconds of entering the game, Missy Mitidiero knocked down DePaul's fourth three-pointer of the first half snapping a 30-30 tie. Each team scored once in the final two minutes with DePaul leading, 35-32, at halftime. Smith led the Blue Demons at the break with 13 points and seven rebounds.

DePaul (5-0) held Wisconsin to just a free throw in the first seven minutes of the second half and opened up a 50-33 lead. Rubino keyed the run with a pair of three-pointers as DePaul's defensive pressure hampered the Badger guards.

With 10 minutes left in the game, Janese Banks scored on a driving lay-up to make the score 54-41. Banks' bucket was just the second field goal of the half for Wisconsin. The Badgers were held to just 57 points after entering Sunday with a scoring average of 80.8 points per game.

Caprice Smith followed her own miss to put the Blue Demons ahead, 69-49, with just over four minutes left in the game. The lead would grow to as high as 23 points before settling at 19 for the 76-57 final.

Smith added five steals to her 24 points and 10 rebounds while Rubino scored 17 points with five three-pointers and four assists. Quigley added 14 points, three assists and three steals.

Banks led Wisconsin with 17 points, but on 5-of-17 shooting from the field. Anderson added 12 points with both of the Badger three-pointers.

Smith was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Rubino and Quigley. Other members of the All-Tournament Team were Kate Benz of Washington State, Danielle Gant from Texas A&M and Amy Sanders from Hawai'i. Banks and Anderson represented Wisconsin on the All-Tourney squad.

Hawai'i claimed third place with a 68-66 win over Texas A&M. Earlier on Sunday, Washington State defeated Cal State Northridge, 65-64, for fifth place and Idaho State topped Eastern Michigan, 78-61, for seventh place.

Game Notes: DePaul has won six straight regular-season tournaments… they won the Moran Realty Classic in 2002, 2003, 2004 and the Blue Sky Restaurant Classic in 2004… DePaul opened this season with a DePaul Invitational championship and Rainbow Wahine Classic title… DePaul shot .306 (15-49) in the tournament using the experimental three-point line distance of 20'6"... the Blue Demons' regular-season win streak is now at 18 games… Khara Smith has four straight doubles-doubles and 58 in her career… the series with Wisconsin it tied at 3-3 with Sunday's game as the first meeting since the 2000 WNIT... DePaul is 5-0 for the third straight season.

Official Box Score

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