Martin Scores 31, DePaul Bruises Orange

CHICAGO- The mayor of Nicholasville, Kentucky, is Russ Meyer. Should the mayor consider starting a program to honor his town's citizens, he would do well to start with Anna Martin.

Martin came off the bench to score a career high 31 points as the DePaul Blue Demons defeated the Syracuse Orange 74-71 Saturday night at McGrath Arena.

Her 31 points are also a DePaul University record for most points in a game by a freshman.

In a contest that had NCAA tournament implications for both teams, DePaul's Keisha Hampton helped the Blue Demons strike early, scoring 12 of her team's first 18 points DePaul jumped out to an 18-11 lead.

The Orange then countered by tightening up its 2-3 zone defense, and a lay up by Syracuse's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Nicole Michael, gave the Orange a 24-23 lead with 5:58 left.

A lay up by Vionca Murray with :02 left boosted that lead to 35-26.

But sometimes, endings are just beginnings.

Sam Quigley scored her only basket of the night, a bomb from just inside the half court line at the buzzer, to give DePaul a huge momentum lift, and the Blue Demons trailed 35-29 at the break.

"At halftime I was coming in and saw that we were down six and it came over me that we were not losing this game," Martin said. "I will do whatever I have to do, but we are not losing this game."

And do she did.

Her three-pointer from the top of the key in the opening minutes of the second half cut the lead to 37-32. One minute later a three-pointer from the left corner tied the game at 37. Her three-point play moved DePaul ahead 44-39 with 14:09 left to play. Another three, this time from the right corner pushed the lead to 47-39.

But the Orange (19-9, 6-9 Big East) withstood that onslaught, creeping to 56-54 on a three-point play Juanita Ward with 7:43 left. A jumper by Michael one minute later gave Syracuse a 58-56 lead.

Martin, however, was not done.

Her drive and three-point play followed by her steal and assist on Hampton's fast break lay up moved DePaul in front 65-58. Her lay up gave the Blue Demons a 67-58 lead with 2:54 left.

A tip in by Michael with :16 left cut DePaul's lead to 70-68.

Martin's 4-4 effort from the free throw line in the final 16 seconds was enough to counter a three-pointer at the buzzer by the Orange's Tasha Harris.

"Everybody has to step up." DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "The other night we had Keisha Hampton score 22 points in a half and she had a great night early tonight, but [Anna Martin] had a night for the ages here at DePaul. [Martin] did a great job between the touches. What really separates freshmen from experienced Big East players is understanding how important play between the touches are and not just when the ball is in your hands."

Syracuse leads the Big East in offensive rebounding and total rebounding. The Orange were bested by DePaul tonight in both those categories.

Martin was 5-8 from beyond the arc and finished 8-8 from the stripe. She also led DePaul in rebounding with nine boards. Hampton finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.

The Orange were led with 20 points each from Michael and Ward.

DePaul (19-10, 8-7 Big East) started the evening tied for sixth place in the Big East with Providence and Rutgers. Both those teams hold the tiebreaker over DePaul.

The Blue Demons finish out the Big East regular season at South Florida this Monday at 6 p.m. CST.

Notes: Quigley's seven assists tonight gives her 331 career assists, moving her past Andrea Morgan into 7th place on the DePaul career list...Quigley's 11 assists against Pittsburgh is tops in the Big East this year...Felicia Chester's two blocks leave her one short of moving into 10th place in the DePaul single season blocked shots record held by Cathy Pezdirtz and her 40 blocks in 1992-1993.

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