Turnover were abundant for Xavier and DePaul took advantage, earning an 84-61 victory over the Musketeers.
DePaul scored 29 points off of 29 Muskateer turnovers.
The full court pressure of the Blue Demons gave Xaiver all sorts of fits early on in the game. In the first four minutes, DePaul forced eight Musketeer turnovers and scored eight points off of those turnovers. At the first media timeout, DePaul had raced out to a 12-2 lead
“I was really impressed with the energy our players had to begin the game,” head coach Doug Bruno said. “I thought we sustained the energy throughout the game.
Chanise Jenkins, who contributed five steals on the afternoon, talked about how focus is a large part of starting out well.
“The focus is key at the beginning of the game,” Jenkins said. “You have to be extremely ready to play as coach always says. We missed a couple layups in the beginning and I guess that fired us up since coach was yelling at us.”
DePaul continued to outpace the Musketeers, forcing more turnovers and stretching the lead. When Xavier called a timeout with 9:42 to go in the half, the Musketeers had 12 turnovers and trailed 24-10. They did, however, match their point total with their turnover total on the next possession.
With 7:35 to go in the half, there was a stoppage in play as Megan Podkowa was not able to get back on offense and limped off the court, grabbing her knee. She went back to the locker room but was able to walk under her own power. She returned to the bench in the second half with ice on her knee but did not play the rest of the afternoon.
“We were put into a position of having to deal with the injury of a very important player in Megan Podkowa,” Bruno said. “It’s one thing to re-tool during the week which is hard, but you have to re-tool on the fly which I thought was important for everybody.”
Bruno confirmed that Podkowa would have an MRI on Monday.
As the half wound down, DePaul continue to stretch the lead and force Xavier miscues. It wasn’t until there was 1:30 to go in the half that the Musketeer’s point total passed their turnover ratio and, by that point, DePaul had a 35-19 lead. They would add a couple more baskets and would take a 37-21 advantage into halftime.
DePaul came out hot to start the second half as well, forcing six turnovers and scoring 15 points before the first media timeout, jumping out to a commanding 52-26 lead with 16:29 to go. Chanise Jenkins had five steals to lead the team.
With the lead in sure hands, DePaul was able to use its bench more as the clock wound down. Freshmen Ashton Millender and Mart’e Grays both came into the game to spare the starters and Brooke Schulte also earned some significant minutes, especially after the Podkowa injury.
The Musketeers would not threaten DePaul’s lead for the remainder of the game and the Blue Demons finished with an 84-61 victory. They moved to 4-1 and remained tied for first place in the Big East.
Even with the rotation of the starting lineup due to injury, Chanise Jenkins was pleased with the total team defense that had netted them 29 turnovers against Xavier.
“I think it’s safe to say our defense is clicking,” she said. “I think everyone did a good job of rotating and knowing when to come up. It was a very nice, total team effort.”
DePaul has two games on the road at Seton Hall and St. John’s later in the week, both teams sitting alongside DePaul near the top of the conference standings.