After losing to No. 1 UConn on Dec. 2, DePaul women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno said his team earned the right to have confidence. The No. 18 Blue Demons gave the Huskies their toughest test of the season before losing 86-70.
A week later against No. 3 Notre Dame, the Blue Demons can claim they have some fight in them as well.
But like the UConn game, the Blue Demons fell just short.
Despite making a tremendous second half push, DePaul (6-3) dropped a 95-90 loss Wednesday against Notre Dame (8-1) in South Bend. The Blue Demons outscored the Irish 51-30 in the second half, but never took the lead.
Senior guard Chanise Jenkins led the Blue Demons surge as she finished with 21 points, going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Jenkins continuously attacked the paint and made shots when it counted.
Jenkins converted an and-1 opportunity with 1:46 left in the fourth to cut Notre Dame’s lead to six, 95-88. That was the closest DePaul would get.
The fact that they were even in that position, however, speaks volumes.
The Irish led by as many as 26, leading at the half 65-39. It appeared as if Notre Dame had solved DePaul’s full court pressure, easily breaking the press and finding open three-point shooters.
With Notre Dame in such control, DePaul didn’t have any success on the offensive end either. They finished the second quarter with just 10 points.
Yet after halftime, DePaul found its offense. They finished the second half shooting 50 percent, including 9-of-13 from deep. In addition to Jenkins’ 21 points, Jessica January scored 17 and forwards Megan Podkowa and Jacqui Grant each had 14. In the third quarter, DePaul went on a 19-5 run.
Notre Dame guard Madison Cable led her team with 21 points and the Irish shot 62 percent for the game.
In nine games this season, the Blue Demons have already faced three teams ranked in the top five of the nation, going 0-3 in those games. Notre Dame marked the start of a four-game road trip for DePaul.
DePaul plays another national ranked team next, facing No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday.