Big Second Half Propels DePaul Past #19 Pitt

PITTSBURGH – Natasha Williams scored 26 points, Deirdre Naughton added 24 and DePaul rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to hand No. 19 Pittsburgh its second consecutive and first home loss, 69-62 on Saturday at the Petersen Events Center.

Shavonte Zellous had 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, but no other Pitt player scored in double figures as the Panthers shot 34.5 percent (20-of-58). The Panthers were coming off a 77-69 loss at Providence on Wednesday.

After DePaul won the opening tip, neither team could make a basket as the teams combined to miss their first six shots. Williams gave DePaul its first points by knocking down a pair free throws with 18:07 left in the half. An inside basket by Williams and a three from Naughton gave the Blue Demons an early 7-5 advantage with 16:57 left.

Just under thirty seconds later, Wilson gave Pittsburgh its first lead by converting a three-point-play with 16:24 left in the half.

With Pitt taking its first lead, there were 15 more lead changes before the first half was complete. The Panthers went to the locker room with a 49-34 lead behind 17 points from Zellous.

Pitt (11-4, 1-2 BIG EAST) scored four unanswered points to start the half as Zellous and Sophronia Sallard combined to give the Panthers a 43-34 lead.

Facing a nine point deficit the Blue Demons got things done from the free throw line as Williams converted all four of her attempts and China Threatt drilled a pair to cut Pittsburgh's lead to 43-40 wit 16:55 left in the game.

Over the next three plus minutes neither team was able hit a shot before Williams gave the Blue Demons their first field goal of the half with a jump hook in front of the basket with 13:13 ticks remaining in the contest.

After pulling within one, Zellous and Taneisha Harrison combined for six points that gave the Panthers a 48-43 lead with 11:15 left in the game.

Williams went to work in the next three minutes and scored six points while Sam Quigley made a free throw as the Blue Demons used a 7-2 run to tie the game at 50 on William's basket in the paint with 7:38 on the clock.

Following a pair of made free throws by Harrison, Deirdre Naughton drilled her first of two three pointers in the final six minutes of play to give the Blue Demons their first advantage since 2:36 left in the first half.

With a 53-52 advantage, DePaul buckled down on its defense and went ahead by as many as seven when Felicia Chester converted both ends of a one-and-one that gave the Blue Demons a 68-61 lead as well as some breathing room.

DePaul (13-4, 1-2) won for the first time in three BIG EAST games, but its two losses were to No. 10 Louisville and No. 12 Notre Dame. The Blue Demons' win was the first against a ranked opponent this season.

Williams led all players with 10 rebounds for her ninth career double-double.

The Blue Demons return to the action on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 1/1 Connecticut, CLTV will cover the game live in Chicago.

Notes: Natasha Williams recorded her ninth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds... Sam Quigley led DePaul with six assists... it was fifth time this season she has led the Blue Demons in assists... Deidre Naughton knocked down all five of DePaul's 3-pointers. She was 5-10 from behind the arc... DePaul snapped its two-game loosing streak... the Blue Demons had lost at No. 10/11 Louisville and to No. 12/4 Notre Dame prior to their win today... DePaul has made a 3-pointer in 123 consecutive games... The game was number 990 in the DePaul women's basketball program... with 24 points, Naughton has 1,202 career points (419 at Wake Forest and 790 at DePaul)... Natasha Williams played in her 100th career game (22 at Minnesota and 78 at DePaul)... the series between the two teams is now tied at three wins apiece.

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