Less than 48 hours before DePaul took on St. John’s, they had just fallen to Seton Hall 81-80 in a game where they gave up the game-winning shot with three seconds left.
“There’s nothing you can do about it now, we can’t get it back,” senior guard Brittany Hrynko said following the loss. “We just have to stay strong and be ready to beat St. John’s.”
Sunday afternoon, DePaul did just that as they defeated St. John’s 82-55. Junior forward Megan Podkowa and sophomore guard Brooke Schulte each had double-doubles, while freshman forward Mart’e Grays also contributed 11 points.
“I just focused on the little things and how I could help my team in that way,” Schulte said. “I brought aggression to rebounding and I just wanted to focus on playing defense and getting stops and helping my team all around.”
The Blue Demons (20-6, 12-3) moved back into first place in the Big East with Seton Hall’s loss to Marquette also on Sunday afternoon. St. John’s (17-8, 8-6) moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference.
“I thought off of what happened on Friday night where our team blew a 20 point lead and lost at the buzzer against a really good Seton Hall team,” Bruno said. “I thought they did a good job of refocusing and reconnecting and bringing a readiness to compete.”
The Blue Demons and Red Storm stayed close for the first few minutes of the game but then St. John’s went on a scoreless drought that stretched more than seven minutes. Meanwhile, DePaul took advantage and put themselves into a comfortable lead. Their largest lead of the half was 20 at one point when DePaul led 31-11.
When St. John’s started scoring again, they were able to cut the deficit a little bit, getting to within 12 at one point but DePaul put them right back down, punctuated with a Grays’ three with six seconds to go in the half. At the break, DePaul led 38-20. Grays led the game with nine points, while Schulte had six points and nine rebounds.
DePaul went on a scoring drought in the second half going into the under-12 media timeout and were outscored 15-10 by St. John’s at that point in the second half. The Blue Demons still led 48-35 with 11:34 to go, however.
From there, DePaul all but put the game to bed. They went on a 13-7 run to go up 61-42 with 6:25 to go in the game, a Chanise Jenkins’ three heading into the St. John’s timeout being the exclamation point.
The Blue Demons controlled the game from there and ended up with an 82-55 victory. With the Seton Hall loss to Marquette, DePaul moved back into first place in the Big East conference with a half-game lead over the Pirates, due to the efforts of the players to put the Seton Hall loss behind them.
“I think we had a good day yesterday in practice,” Podkowa said “During our shootaround we had time to think about the loss but then we just had to get over it and move on,”
DePaul goes on their final road trip of the year, going to Creighton on Friday, Feb. 20, who have won six straight. Then they play Providence in a Sunday matinee.