Smith and Quigley Lead DePaul Over Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Khara Smith's 18th double-double of the season led No. 16/14 DePaul past Providence, 74-68, on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Blue Demons clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming BIG EAST Championship that starts next Saturday in Hartford, Conn.

Following a Jenna Rubino three-pointer, the Friars built a 15-9 lead with a 10-2 run. In just under five minutes, Providence erased the 7-5 deficit led by three baskets from Gayle Nwafili.

DePaul went one step further as the Blue Demons answered with an11-2 run of their own. Smith led the way with nine points during the flurry that ended with DePaul holding a 20-17 advantage with 9:19 left in the first half.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Allie Quigley and Caprice Smith gave the Blue Demons a 26-21 lead with just under six minutes on the clock. The Friars didn't go away as Chelsea Marandola hit a basket and Shauna Snyder nailed a baseline three-pointer to tie the game two minutes later.

Erin Cattell converted a three-point play with 2:31 on the clock for a 32-26 advantage, but the DePaul offense stalled for the remainder of the half, but claimed a 32-28 advantage at halftime.

Providence (8-18, 3-12 BIG EAST) scored six straight points to open the second half and took a two-point lead with three minutes off the clock. Two free throws by Erin Carney regained the advantage for the Blue Demons before Khara Smith hit DePaul's first field goal of the second half at 15:24 and a 37-36 lead.

Smith's bucket gave DePaul the lead for good with the Friars tying the score at 43-43 on a three-pointer by Snyder with 12:15 left in the game.

The Blue Demons answered Snyder's trey with five straight points on two Khara Smith free throws and a three-pointer by Quigley. Providence trimmed the deficit to a point at the nine-minute mark before DePaul scored nine of the game's next 11 points.

The two teams traded baskets over the next three minutes until Khara Smith hit a shot with 3:25 left and Quigley sank a basket with 1:56 on the clock for a 68-62 lead. Quigley went 6-for-6 from the line in the final 31 seconds to preserve the 74-68 win. Providence kept things interesting as the hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 22 seconds.

Khara Smith led DePaul (23-5, 10-5 BIG EAST) with game-high's of 22 points and 13 rebounds. She also added two assists, two steals and two blocked shots while going 8-for-9 from the free throw line.

Quigley added 18 points and six assists while Caprice Smith finished with 11 points and four rebounds. Rachael Carney, making her first DePaul start, played 39 minutes with six assists and four rebounds.

Snyder led Providence with 19 points while Nawfili added 17 points and eight rebounds.

DePaul wraps up the regular season on Tuesday against Syracuse. Tipoff against the Orange is set for 7 p.m. with Senior Night ceremonies following the game.

Game Notes: The win was the fifth straight for the third streak this season of at least five games… the Blue Demons have won at least 10 conference games in four straight seasons… DePaul's 23 wins mark the seventh season in school history with at least 23 victories… Rachael Carney made her first start in a DePaul uniform… it was also her first start since Mar. 7, 2003 against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament as a freshman at Michigan… Khara Smith's double-double was the 72nd of her career and her 110th career game in double-figures (45th with 20-plus points)… Smith played her 125th career game to put her in a tie for third all-time… Jenna Rubino moved into a tie for 10th all-time with her 110th career three-pointers… Holly Medley as made six of her last eight three-point attempts… Jarietta Benton played for the first time since Feb. 4 at Rutgers… DePaul has used five different starting lineups this season… the series between the two programs is now tied at 2-2.

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