On the day that happened to be the first snowfall of the year, the women’s basketball team tipped-off their season with a matchup against the University of Northern Colorado Bears who defeated the Demons 94-88. The starters announced to the crowd at McGrath-Phillips Arena matched the starters brought out in the exhibition against Saint Xavier: Ashton Millender, Amarah Coleman, Mart’e Greys, Kelly Campbell and Tanita Allen.
DePaul won the tip and pushed up court to Greys who took a three 14 seconds into the game. The shot was off, but Coleman grabbed the offensive board, missed a shot of her own then got the third one to go to open the scoring in the Blue Demons’ favor.
The first quarter would go back and forth, featuring five lead changes through the first five minutes. With one minute and 45 seconds left in the first quarter, Tanita Allen hit a free-throw to complete a four-point play after banking in a pull up three, putting DePaul up 18-14. Northern Colorado would get the last bucket of the quarter, with Bridget Hintz getting three points the old-fashioned way, to go into the second frame down just one.
Rebekah Dahlman opened quarter two with a pair of layups, Kelly Campbell would then finish an ‘and one’ to put DePaul up 25-17 two minutes into the quarter. DePaul’s early run would end with fouls and turnovers that continued to interrupt DePaul’s offense through much of the game. DePaul would rack up nine fouls in the quarter and had four players foul out by the end of the game.
“We just have to play clean,” Coleman said. “We can’t be worried about how the refs are calling the game, we just have to play our game and take it from there.”
The Bears would crawl back, gaining the lead with four minutes left, stretching it to 38-32 with two free throws from UNC’s Samantha Scott. UNC carried that lead through the next three minutes until back-to-back threes from Ashton Millender and Kelly Campbell gave DePaul the 43-41 lead at the half.
Going into the third quarter, Scott caught fire for the Bears. Scott opened the quarter with a three two minutes in to give UNC the lead momentary. At 5:19, she would hit another three and got a three-point play shortly after to put the Bears up 59-49. Two free throws would be added to cap off an 11-0 before Coleman hit some free throws for DePaul. Scott would have 27 points through three quarters with UNC leading 61-49.
Three minutes into the final frame, DePaul took a blow when graduate transfer Rebekah Dahlman went down with an injury after a foul from UNC’s Savanah Smith. Dahlman would be escorted off the court and did not return to the game.
DePaul did not lose fight and began double-teaming off every pass, forcing eight turnovers in the quarter. The Demons’ converted on some of these and pulled back to within three when Ashton Millender canned one from outside with two minutes and 30 seconds left, 77-80. UNC clung on to the lead, but with one-minute left Mart’e Grays got an open look to make it a one-point game, but the three-point shot came up empty. DePaul would foul to extend the game but would never complete the comeback.
Scott set the game high for points with 35, her career high. She shot 9-13 overall and added 13-13 from the stripe. Allen would finish with the high for DePaul with 17 on 6-9 shooting. After the game, Allen said that the best thing to take away from the game was everything they had to work on.
“The take away from the game is that there is always room for improvement,” Allen said. “Right now, we are in a place where we need to practice our offense and our defense, how to stay clean and how to execute a play together.”
Head coach Doug Bruno saw the flaws in the game but took much of it on himself, saying he still needs to figure out how to best utilize his players.
“The job (UNC) did defensively was a good job, although I don’t know that we were in a very sharp place offensively all night,” Bruno said. “They outplayed us when we were on offense and they were on defense. A big part of that is still me figuring out this basketball team and I think I’ve still got a lot of working figuring out how we are going to best score.”
DePaul will look to get their first win when they play the no. 22 Oklahoma Sooners on Monday in McGrath-Phillips Arena.