A late first half spurt and a strong second half propelled the DePaul women’s basketball team to a 97-59 victory over New Mexico in the final game of the Maggie Dixon Classic.
“I was impressed with our team’s energy the past two nights coming off of the tough defeat,” head coach Doug Bruno said.
The game completed the Maggie Dixon Classic, a tournament named after former DePaul assistant coach Maggie Dixon, who passed away in 2006 after complications from an enlarged heart.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her,” Bruno said. “She was one of these people that infected other people by caring for them. If she had not passed away we’d still be talking about her as a great person.”
Dixon was an assistant coach at DePaul from 2001-2005.
The game got off to a shaky start for the Blue Demons, turning over the ball four times in the first ten minutes. The two teams traded buckets during that time with the lead continuously changing, never by more than three points. The Blue Demons were shooting 36 perfect from the field.
DePaul was able to turn it on the next few minutes, calming down on offense and holding strong on defense. They extended their lead to 34-27 at the final media timeout of the half with just under four minutes to go.
The Blue Demons continued to control the game for the final few minutes, punctuating the half with a Brittany Hrynko layup with just seconds remaining in the half. They carried a 45-35 lead into the locker room with Megan Rogowski leading the game with 11 points. She was 3-6 from beyond the arc.
New Mexico opened up the second half with a 5-0 run, capitalizing on a couple of misses from the Blue Demons. DePaul, however, returned in kind with a basket followed by a Hrynko three. Going into the first media timeout of the second half, DePaul led 55-44 with 15:19 to go.
The Blue Demons continued to build in the second half, going on a 26-14 run over the next eight minutes. The time between the timeouts pushed the Demons’ advantage to 81-59 with 7:59 to go.
DePaul continued controlled the game from there on out, ending the game with a 97-59 victory. Hrynko led the Blue Demons with 19 points while Rogowski put in 17 of her own.
Megan Podkowa, who was named to the all-tournament team, credited defensive tenacity for DePaul’s ability to pull ahead and push the Lobos away down the stretch.
“What helped was keeping the pressure on until they started to get tired and we forced turnovers,” Podkowa said.
“We made them tired and they weren’t getting as easy looks,” Jessica January added.
Following the first real action of the season, Bruno was able to pinpoint some of the improvements the Demons need to make as the season gets into full swing.
“We are still a work in progress regarding our defensive schemes,” he said. “We need to develop an interior game that’s more than Podkowa.
Bruno also said he’s still working on figuring out combinations, particularly in the post.
“We’d like to have Harvey-Carr or Greys next to (Podkowa) so that she can swing out,” he said.
With the win, the Blue Demons moved to 2-1 on the year after playing their third game in as many days. No rest for the weary, however, as they are back in action on Tuesday. They will take on Bradley at All-State Arena before the men’s basketball team takes on Drake.