Blue Demons Fall Against Connecticut 84-75

CHICAGO – In front of a standing room only crowd at the DePaul Athletic Center, No. 12/11 DePaul came up on the short end of an 84-75 score to visiting No. 5/4 Connecticut. The loss ended the Blue Demons' 33-game winning streak on their home floor. Khara Smith led DePaul with her 68th career double-double on 24 points and 12 rebounds.

The Blue Demons fell behind 7-2 before Caprice Smith came off the bench and hit back-to-back buckets to give the home team an 8-7 lead. Her second basket came off a nice pass from Claudette Towers on a DePaul fast break.

Both teams hit baskets on their next two possessions – including a three-pointer for DePaul by Towers – with the game tied at 11-11 at the 13-minute mark of the first half.

Khara Smith put back a three-point miss by Allie Quigley to give the Blue Demons a 27-21 lead with 6:53 left. However, the Huskies stormed back over the next two minutes with eight straight points and took a 29-27 lead on a Renee Montgomery jumper forcing Doug Bruno to call a time out with five minutes on the clock.

A Khara Smith free throw followed by a free shot by Erin Carney were the only two points the Blue Demons could muster over the final five minutes as Connecticut took a 38-29 halftime lead.

Back-to-back three's by Towers and Rubino pulled the Blue Demons to within three to start the second half. On DePaul's next possession, Rubino found Towers under the basket and Connecticut took a time out with 18:18 left in the game and a one-point lead.

Carney tied the game with a free throw before Montgomery drove the lane and hit a short jumper for Connecticut's first points of the second half and a 40-38 lead at the 17:10 mark.

Khara Smith put DePaul ahead for the first time in the second half only to see Barbara Turner answer on the other end of the floor. Charde Houston scored on the Huskies' next possession and the visitors held a 49-46 lead with just over 14 minutes left in the game.

Trailing 55-50, Rachael Carney's three-pointer from the top of the key cut the deficit to just two points. Rubino tied the game at 55-55 and once again Connecticut answered with a basket by Ann Strother with 10:32 left in the game.

Quigley's second three-pointer of the night was answered by two straight Huskies three's forcing Bruno to call a time out with 9:03 on the clock and hit team trailing, 63-58.

Coming out of the break, Mel Thomas stole a pass and hit a layup before short jumpers by Willnett Crockett and Turner put Connecticut up, 69-58, with just under eight minutes left.

Following three more points by Connecticut, Rubino got the Blue Demons back on the board and was followed by a Khara Smith layup and a Caprice Smith jumper for a 72-64 Connecticut lead.

The final five minutes saw Connecticut's advantage increase to 14 points and the Blue Demons could get no closer than seven points at 78-71 with 33 seconds on the clock.

Strother hit two free throws and Khara Smith scored in the lane for the 84-75 final.

Smith led DePaul with 24 points and 12 rebounds as she became the third player in school history with 2,000 career points. Rubino added 14 points for DePaul (18-3, 5-3 BIG EAST) while Quigley and Caprice Smith chipped in 10 points each.

Connecticut (19-2, 8-0 BIG EAST) was led by Turner with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Strother added 18 points, Houston had 16 and Montgomery finished with 13 points.

Game Notes: The loss snapped DePaul's 33-game home-floor winning streak… DePaul actually held the nation's longest winning streak for about six hours as Western Illinois lost to Oral Roberts earlier on Saturday… North Carolina now owns the longest home-court streak at 29 games… the 18-3 record matches the second-best start in school history (fourth time)… the loss also ended a 24-game winning streak at home in conference games… Khara Smith passed the 2,000-point plateau… she also registered her 67th career double-double… since the 2003-04 season (83 games) she has never played three straight games without a double-double… she entered the Connecticut game without a double-double in the previous two contests… … the 38-29 deficit at halftime was the largest of the season… Connecticut's .534 field goal percentage was a season high for an opponent… the Blue Demons have scored less than 80 points in four straight games… in the last two games, DePaul is 15-for57 (.263) from the three-point line… the series is now tied 1-1.

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