Brittany Hrynko scored 18 points and Jasmine Penny added 15 as DePaul defeated Howard 68 -51 at McGrath-Phillips Arena Saturday night. In a game that featured 20 Blue Demon turnovers, it wasn’t the smoothest contest head coach Doug Bruno’s team has played.
DePaul was coming off a 92 -80 loss to Dayton in the Maggie Dixon Classic final last Saturday night that left Bruno frustrated by his team’s lack of defense.
“Because of what happened with Dayton, this game becomes all of a sudden a must-win,”said Bruno. “You have to win these games in November or else there is no March.”
The Blue Demons in preparation to Saturday had seven days to a form a plan to stop MEAC preseason player of the year Saardia Doyle, who was coming off a 36-point performance against Penn State last week.
“Our game plan was to limit her touches,”said Penny, who held Doyle to 40 percent shooting from the floor.
Doyle scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Saturday night, but it was her early consistency in the first half that kept her team alive. DePaul led 32-18 after the first half, and ultimately was able to control what Doyle could do on the floor.
In the first, DePaul jumped off to an 8-1 lead, after a three by Hrynko forced Howard to kill its first timeout. Demons forward Katherine Harry got in foul trouble early in the first, and struggled to find her presence on the floor, finishing the first half with a mere two points.
At the halfway point, Bruno went with a number of different offensive combinations at forward, including Brandi Harvey-Carr and Anna Martin, who added much needed energy.
Despite Harry’s inconsistent play in the half, DePaul still managed to shoot 44 percent from the floor thanks to the brilliant fast break efforts of Penny and the outside shooting of Hynko, who each added 11 in the first.
Doyle kept things close for her team in the first 10 minutes, drawing fouls consistently and hitting close range shots. The Bison senior drained countless contested shots, including one with 9:39 in the half that gave Howard a 19-18 lead. Despite her effort, this lead took the wind out the sails of the Bison, who wouldn’t score again until the second half. The Blue Demons cruised into halftime on a 15- 0 run.
The last time the Blue Demons held an opponent to under 20 points in the first half was Dec. 7, 2009, when DePaul held the Loyola Ramblers to 16.
The Blue Demons continued to outscore the Bison after halftime, opening the second half on a 13 -4 run. Sophomore Chanise Jenkins continued to run the offense, finding familiar targets down court in Penny and Hrynko to add to her seven assists in the game, a career high.
Harry returned with a vengeance in the second, scoring seven points in the half to finish with nine. The senior center also grabbed 10 boards in the contest, while Penny added eight.
Twenty-one of Howard’s 51 points in the game came off of DePaul turnovers, which the Blue Demons will need to cut down in their next few games.
The Blue Demons return to action Tuesday when they host the Yale Bulldogs at 7 p.m.