Sporting newly designed uniforms, the Blue Demons overcame a sluggish start and steam rolled the Cougars 111-69 at McGrath Arena in the exhibition opener for both teams.
The Demons' Deirdre Naughton missed her first three field goals and first two free throws of the game as St. Xavier mounted a 7-4 lead with 5:00 gone in the first half. But as DePaul fans and DePaul opponents saw so many times last year, it is tough to keep Naughton down for long. The 5'10" senior finished with 13 first half points on her way to a game high 23 points along with nine rebounds and five assists.
"I think my shots just weren't going in, so I went inside and got some boards and tried to get my rhythm like that," Naughton said.
Naughton's running 3-point bank shot from the right wing as time expired in the first half gave DePaul a 50-32 lead.
DePaul placed six players in double figures, and all players who were in uniform scored. Among the two in double figures were freshmen Anna Martin and Katherine Harry.
Martin, the first player off the bench for DePaul, sparked a first half run by converting her first two field goals, back-to-back 3-pointers, as she gave the Demons the lead for good. The Blue Grass state product scored 13 points and had five rebounds in her debut as a Blue Demon.
"Anna Martin did what she has pretty much shown us what she can do," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "She is a very good offensive player and is still a freshman who is figuring it all out. She is a starter in my eyes, even though she comes off the bench."
Harry scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had two blocked shots in 22 minutes of play.
And while the Demons had their way with St. Xavier, Bruno realizes that the game will change with Stanford looming and then the start of the Big East schedule.
"We have a pretty solid core of starters and six players have sort of separated themselves. And it is very difficult to play in the Big East with six people, so we are trying to figure out who off the bench is going to come in and give us valuable minutes."
The Cougars were led by Kathlyn McClain's 20 points and eight rebounds.
DePaul completes the exhibition part of its schedule this Friday with the front end of a DePaul doubleheader, playing Illinois Wesleyan at 5:30 CST at McGrath Arena. The DePaul men follow at 7:30 in an exhibition game versus the University of Chicago.
Notes: DePaul has now won 37 straight games versus Illinois opponents...the Demons are ranked #17 in the AP pre-season poll...the Big East has five teams in the AP pre-season Top 25...last year's team had a GPA of 3.40, the highest in the program's history.
DePaul Rolls St. Xavier in Exhibition Opener
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