DePaul Holds Off ISU, Moves to 5-1

CHICAGO- On the day after Thanksgiving, DePaul Blue Demons women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno is probably thankful that his team does not have to face Kristi Cirone and the Illinois State Redbirds again during the regular season.

The Demons (5-1) held off a tremendous effort by Cirone in defeating the Redbirds 80-68 Friday night at McGrath Arena.

Cirone, the reigning two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out nine assists. She had 25 points and eight assists in last year's loss to DePaul.

Her effort was countered by four players in double figures for DePaul, led by Deirdre Naughton's 26 points. Naughton shot just 5-19 from the field but was 16-16 from the line.

Naughton has averaged 30 ppg in her last three games.

"We did a lot of good things tonight, especially the way we took it to them at the beginning," said Bruno. "Our pressure was where we wanted it to be tonight and wearing out Cirone was huge."

DePaul jumped out to at 34-16 lead in the first half. ISU then countered with a 9-2 run led by Cirone's six points to close to 36-25 with 4:30 left. DePaul could only muster six Naughton free throws the rest of the way and led 42-30 at the break.

DePaul freshman Keisha Hampton had another strong performance for the Demons with 12 points and seven rebounds. Bruno spoke about his team's group of freshmen.

"We miss Danielle (Havel). She is really right there behind Keisha. Danielle is ready to play. Courtney Webb is going to be a very talented college player. It is just a matter of understanding between the touches what we are trying to do, and that is still a work in progress."

Natasha Williams added 11 points and nine rebounds for DePaul. Erin Cattell added 11 points off the bench in 14 minutes of play.

ISU started the second half on a 10-4 run to get to 46-40 with 15:06 left. Five straight points by Cattell pushed the Demon's lead to 51-42 with 12:10 remaining.

"Another key contributor was Erin Cattell," said Bruno. "She has played here since she was a freshman. It is important when she gets in the game that she understand what we are trying to do."

Two free throws by Naughton with eleven seconds left sealed the win.

Maggie Crick led ISU with 24 points. The Redbirds fall to 2-3.

The Demons travel to Knoxville this Sunday to play two-time defending NCAA champion Tennessee. Tip off is set for 2:00 p.m.

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