No. 20/21 women’s basketball overcomes slow start to beat SIUE 75-65

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The No. 20/21 women’s basketball team overcame a sluggish start to their game against SIU-Edwardsville Friday night to down the Cougars at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The Blue Demons (8-1) struggled early in the first half, falling behind by as many as nine points before a 14-2 run put the Cougars away for good. Three DePaul players scored in double-figures with Anna Martin and Brittany Hrynko both scoring 15 points to lead the team. Keisha Hampton added 12 points of her own.

Even with the victory, head coach Doug Bruno was not very happy with his team’s approach to the game.

“I am obviously very irritated at my own basketball team because they did not have the sense of urgency or mental intelligence to understand that every human being that plays the game of basketball deserves respect,” Bruno said, who briefly alluded to the fact that his team may have been peeking ahead to their next game, a bout with Tennessee at the Maggie Dixon Classic in New York City.

The first three minutes were very sloppy for the Blue Demons, who committed four turnovers in that time span. Down 8-4, it prompted Bruno to pull all five starters.

With DePaul down 18-9, Hrynko hit a three-pointer, then stole an inbounds pass and hit another three to start the 14-2 run that gave the Blue Demons the lead for the rest of the game.

“She gave us a great spurt in the first half when she hit the three threes,” Bruno acknowledged about Hrynko, who did have an up-and-down game with five turnovers.

On top of the lethargic game, DePaul added injury to more injuries. Hampton went down hard after running into a pick from Raven Berry of SIUE. She was down for a couple of minutes but was able to get up and got back into the game. Guard Deanna Ortiz also went down with a lower leg injury and came out of the locker room at halftime with a boot on her right foot. Bruno did not have specifics on either player.

When asked what to do with this game, Bruno was very simple and frank.

“We have to forgive ourselves and move on because we can’t get tonight back,” he said. “I really just don’t believe that we were ready to play and that’s just not something that happens here.”

The game against the Cougars marked the second of three games in five nights for the Blue Demons. It also marked the 24th consecutive win at McGrath-Phillips Arena for DePaul.

The game on Sunday against Tennessee will tip off at noon central time.