The DePaul Blue Demons fell 92-71 in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Sunday afternoon. The Seven seed Blue Demons came into the matchup against the second seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Blue Demons took a 5-0 lead against the Bulldogs on their home floor with a Jaqui Grant 3-pointer. Grant, the Big East defensive player of the year needed to deliver her usual consistent rim protection, rebounding, and outlet passing for the Blue Demons to upset the Bulldogs. But just under three minutes into the game, Grant picked up her second foul, forcing her to sit the rest of the quarter.
After ten minutes, the Blue Demons and the Bulldogs were locked at 17. Grant would return in the second quarter but picked up foul number three. Going into the half, DePaul trailed 38-37, having found their touch from distance to go five of eleven from beyond the arch and holding their opponent to just one of eight. Grant though had only been able to play eight minutes due to foul trouble. With Grant on the bench DePaul was losing the rebounding battle 23-18.
The Bulldogs came out on in the second half, taking a 12-6 run halfway through the third quarter. With just over five minutes left in the quarter, Grant picked up foul number four, putting the Blue Demons defensive anchor just one foul away from disqualification as the Blue Demons were fifteen minutes away from elimination from the tournament. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run to get out to a 61-43 lead. The Blue Demons fought back with a run of their own to close the quarter, scoring nine unanswered points in the final 70 seconds of the third.
Going into the fourth, the Blue Demons trailed 61-50. The Bulldogs opened the fourth with a 9-0 to open the final quarter and trailed 69-50 before Jessica January finally put DePaul on the board just over four minutes into the final period. The Blue Demons were unable to find an answer for the Bulldogs and struggled mightily with their much larger front court, getting outrebound 48-26 and giving up 52 points in the paint.