No. 17 DePaul women’s basketball holds on against St. John’s 54-51

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Kelly Campbell drives the ball in the lane in Friday night's matchup against St. Johns (CAROLINE STACEY | THE DEPAULIA)

Kelly Campbell drives the ball in the lane in Friday night’s matchup against St. Johns (CAROLINE STACEY | THE DEPAULIA)

A sea of pink filled McGrath-Phillips arena for Friday’s DePaul and St. John’s matchup — in honor of former NC State Coach Kay Yow, who battled with breast cancer. The foundation has raised awareness for breast cancer research since 2004. Through generous donations the foundation has raised funds, which have led to scientific research to fight breast cancer and find a cure for the disease.

The DePaul Blue Demons needed every bit of Brooke Schulte’s 24 point/10 rebound performance tonight, to take a 54-51 win in the heated Big East showdown. Last time these teams met at McGrath Phillips, St. Johns ousted the Blue Demons in last season’s conference semifinal match-up.

DePaul started off slow in the first quarter, the team didn’t look quite themselves. The Blue Demons trailed most of the first quarter, until Schulte at the 3:43 mark gave the Demons a 14-12 lead. St. Johns dominated the boards (22-17) keeping the score close in the first half.

Jacqui Grant sparked a light in the Blue Demons after converting a put back layup in the final seconds of the first half, which gave the Blue Demons a 31-29 lead.

Head coach Doug Bruno made excellent half-time adjustments to induce more pressure on St. Johns starting point-guard Aaliyah Lewis. Lewis had her way dishing the ball to St. Johns forward Jade Walker in the first-half, who led all Red Storm scorers with 13 points.

Schulte took over in the third quarter, scoring 13 points on 9-of-12 from the field during those ten minutes.

With Jessica January out and still recovering from a broken finger, Coach Bruno is relying on role players to step up and carry more of the load. Tanita Allen stepped up big for the Demons tonight, racking up 8 huge points in 32 minutes. Allen also made two pivotal lay-ups that led to a 16-2 run and the Blue Demons taking a 51-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

“The good thing about are team is everyone steps up in different moments,” Schulte said. “It’s never just one person taking it all on their back. Everyone as a whole tries to take the load.”

The Blue Demons went cold from the field in the final quarter, the lone field goal came from Allen at the 6:30 mark.  Key steals from Kelly Campbell with 54 seconds remaining and Lauren Prochaska at 23.8 solidified the home win.

Schulte capped the night off with a historic performance hitting the 1000-point mark, during her career as a Blue Demon.

“It’s a great accolade to have, to be with some of the amazing players who’ve came out of the program and have scored 1000 points,” Schulte added. “But I’d rather have a win tonight if that meant no points.”

The Blue Demons have little time to celebrate the win as they face-off against Seton Hall Sunday at 2 p.m.

“We’re still fighting to make the NCAA tournament,” Bruno added. “We’re still trying to get ourselves in position to make the tournament first. I have to keep our players in the moment and take care of business on Sunday.”