The DePaulia

Megan Podkowa leads No. 18 DePaul women’s basketball to 93-70 win over Texas-Pan American

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In the 41 years DePaul women’s head coach Doug Bruno has been a coach, sometimes he forgets there’s a reason that a season’s length is as long as it is.

“There’s a reason that at the beginning of the season, there’s a lot of things you have to find about yourself as a team,” Bruno said. “We’re still trying to find ourselves.”

As DePaul tries to refuel the offensive machine that led to so much success last season, the Blue Demons took an important step Saturday — earning their first win of the 2014-15 season.

No. 18 DePaul (1-1) rebounded from Friday’s 76-68 loss to No. 5 Texas A&M with a 93-70 win over Texas-Pan American at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

After going scoreless yesterday, DePaul forward Megan Podkowa led all scorers with 20 points. Podkowa went 0-4 in her season debut, but was much more aggressive against Texas-Pan American (1-1).

Podkowa went 6-8 from the field and also went 8-9 from the free throw line.

“I was just trying to get the ball in the post and do something with it once we got it there,” Podkowa said. “My main focus was being more aggressive offensively and defensively.”

DePaul saw the ball movement that ended up leading the nation in assists from last year. On top of the team’s 93 points, the Blue Demons had 22 assists to 31 baskets. DePaul, who shot just 31 percent against Texas A&M, finished the game shooting 45 percent and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.

Bruno said part of a season’s early challenges are figuring out the rotations. No DePaul player logged more than 21 minutes and Bruno experimented with lineups that featured groups of freshmen and sophomores.

The lineups had success and DePaul received a valuable boost from their bench with 31 points. Redshirt sophomore guard Brooke Schutle led the second unit with 14 points and freshman Mart’e Grays added 10.

Schulte, who was sparingly used last season, logged 20 minutes, a career-high. Of Schulte’s 14 points, the sophomore guard went 4-5 from beyond the arc.

“I definitely overthought my freshman and sophomore year,” Schulte said. “I’m a lot more confident with the 3-point shot because once I was able to get in the flow of things, I was able to bring that confidence to myself. The drive penetration from the other guards can get me the ball, and it’s just on me to shoot and not think about it.”

DePaul was again impressive on the defensive end. The Blue Demons held the Broncs (1-1) to 39 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers.

Being on the second night of a three-game round robin tournament, the energy from the Blue Demons was there. The high-octane pace of DePaul wore down the Broncs as the first half progressed. After being tied at 20 with 11 minutes to go in the first half, DePaul broke the game open. The two teams went into halftime with DePaul leading 53-37.

There were no signs of having a letdown from Friday’s game, which Bruno made sure to address before the game started.

“I can’t stand the concept of ‘are they going to have a letdown,’” Bruno said. “I asked the players if they would rather practice today or play a game and they all answered with a game. So let’s not cry about having two or three games in a row.”

DePaul returns Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at McGrath-Phillips Arena as part of the Maggie Dixon Classic where they take on New Mexico.

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Megan Podkowa leads No. 18 DePaul women’s basketball to 93-70 win over Texas-Pan American