Seniors Lead DePaul in 82-57 Win Over Cuse

CHICAGO – Led by 15 points and 14 rebounds from Khara Smith on Senior Night, the DePaul women's basketball team closed the regular season with an 82-57 win over Syracuse. Smith's 73rd career double-double paced three players in double-figures for DePaul as they head into this weekend's BIG EAST Championship as the No. 3 seed.

Senior Claudette Towers opened the scoring for DePaul less than a minute into the game before Vida Sipaviciute answered with two straight buckets for the Orange. Erin Cattell answered on DePaul's next possession and sparked a 26-7 run over the next 10:16 that ended with another Cattell basket and a 29-11 Blue Demon advantage.

Syracuse (9-18, 2-14 BIG EAST) scored nine of the game's next 10 points to cut the deficit to 30-20 with 2:22 left in the first half. However, back-to-back three's by Jarietta Benton and Missy Mitidiero followed by a three-point play from Khara Smith closed the half with the home team holding a 16-point advantage at 39-23.

Sipaviciute started the second frame with two straight baskets that brought Syracuse within 12 before a seven-minute stretch that saw DePaul gain a 66-33 lead. Caprice Smith started the 27-6 run and was one of seven Blue Demons to score in that stretch. Benton's second three-pointer of night capped the run with just under 11 minutes left on the clock.

DePaul (24-5, 11-5 BIG EAST) held at least a 29-point lead until the last minute when Syracuse reeled off the last four points of the night for the 82-57 final.

Khara Smith added four assists and two blocked shots to her double-double in just 20 minutes of action. She was followed by Allie Quigley with 13 points and Caprice Smith added 11 points and five rebounds. All 16 players saw action on Tuesday night with 13 scoring at least a point.

Syracuse was led by 16 points from Sipaviciute while Sara Antolick added 12 points off the bench.

The Blue Demons enter next weekend's BIG EAST Championship as the third seed. Picked fourth by the league's coaches in the preseason poll, DePaul takes on the winner of the No. 6 Pittsburgh-No. 11 Cincinnati game on Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST. The BIG EAST Championship takes place at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn.

Game Notes: DePaul has won 52 consecutive home games against unranked opponents… Khara Smith has scored in double-figures in 111 career games to rank 10th in NCAA history… she also became just one of 16 players in NCAA history with 2,000 points and 1,300 career rebounds… the win was the sixth straight… the 24th win marked just the third season in school history with at least 24 victories… Smith moved into fifth all-time at DePaul with her 91st blocked shot… the 82 points are the most points since the 84-75 win against Villanova on Jan. 14… in the last six seasons (183 games), DePaul has scored at least 80 points in 68 games… they are 65-3 in those games… Katie Collins scored her first collegiate points with a three-pointer… Tuesday was the first meeting between the two programs.

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