DePaul rallies past Northwestern behind third quarter run


Sophomore forward Chante Stonewall finished with 16 points and six rebounds in a key DePaul road win (Photo Courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

The first seven minutes weren’t pretty for DePaul (7-3), but from then it was a different story as the Blue Demons rallied past rival Northwestern (6-5) thanks to a 41-9 third quarter run that helped flipped the script and allow the visiting squad to head home with a 92-63 win.

The Wildcats jumped all over the Blue Demons beginning the game on a 20-2 run over the first seven minutes before an Ashton Millender three with 2:37 remaining in the first quarter cut the lead to 15. After the game DePaul head coach Doug Bruno was proud of the way his team responded to that opening run and bouncing back from a tough loss against No. 1 Connecticut last Friday.

“I’m really proud of our basketball team,” Bruno said. “To be able to overcome a 20-2 start is really hard in this sport to get off to that tough a start, Northwestern did a great job they were so much more ready to play when the game started.”

Coach Bruno also gave the Wildcats credit for attacking their full court press and also credited their defense for confusing his players early on, as they began the game just four-of-14 in the opening quarter.

“We were totally out of sync offensively,” Bruno said. “We were getting nothing, we were getting no good looks, what you saw we ended up with 25 assists on 32 made baskets we shoot a lot of threes, but there was nothing going on on offense and that was their defense, their defense had us in a really messed up place, they were confusing us switching from zone to man.”

The Blue Demons responded however after the Millender three closing the opening quarter on a 10-2 run to only be down 22-10 after the opening 10 minutes. That run continued into the second quarter as the Blue Demons closed the gap to two with an 18-2 run of their own. Kelly Campbell cited the heightened focus on rebounding that was able to get the Blue Demons back in the game.

Campbell finished with 18 points, just shy of career-high of 19. (Photo Courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

“We definitely started out very slow, coming back from that definitely we just had to get on the boards,” Campbell said. “The first timeout we had no rebounds so that was a big part of it and staying patient, we knew we could get back in it, we just took time staying patient and having a lot of energy.”

The Blue Demons were able to stay within reach despite shooting an uncharacteristic 4 of 21 in the opening half from behind the arc. The Blue Demons entered the game shooting just over 35 percent on the year.

Despite the poor start and three-point shooting, coach Bruno’s squad closed out the half down just 37-33 after capitalizing on nine Wildcats turnovers with 10 points of their own.

The Blue Demons opened the second half on an 11-2 run to take their first lead of the night 42-39 following a Campbell three and quickly pushed that to five after Campbell stole the ensuing inbound pass and converted it for a layup.

After scoring only two points in the opening half, Campbell exploded for 16 points in the third quarter while going a perfect six-of-six from the field.

By the end of the third quarter, the Blue Demons had opened up a commanding 74-46 lead after the third quarter after shooting 75 percent coming out of halftime. The Wildcats on the other hand were held to just nine points after going 1 for 11 with eight turnovers in the third quarter. After the game, both the players and coach Bruno cited patience as a key factor that helped spark the third quarter run.

“One of the best things was staying patient with our offense,” Bruno said. “It was the same offense that was really horrendous when the game started, I think in the first quarter we were just settling for threes, as much as we shoot threes, I don’t want our basketball team settling for threes, we weren’t getting to the paint off cuts, we weren’t getting to the paint off drives and as the first half wore along I think our team started to figure that out.”

The Blue Demons were without Tanita Allen, who missed the game with a lower body injury. Getting the start in place of Allen, Chante Stonewall finished with a team high 19 points and five rebounds. Stonewall acknowledged after she tried to bring exactly what she normally does off the bench in terms of energy, rebounding and scoring.

“Just to continue to pick up where she left off, scoring wise, rebounding wise,” Stonewall said. “Just to bring the energy that I’m used to bringing off the bench, continue to give my energy and give the components that the team needed.”

After entering the game allowing just over 80 points per game, the Blue Demons held the Wildcats to just 63 points in one of their best performances of the season.

This game began an important week for the Blue Demons with a rivalry matchup that coach Bruno stressed after is among their more meaningful games of the year.

“I just think that’s important for players to understand,” Bruno said. “Next to winning the Big East for us, Big Ten for them and get to the NCAA tournament, I think those are higher priority goals for sure, but after that, what’s the next best thing is your local rivalry.”

Next up is a trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame on Sunday. The Irish’s only loss of the season was a nine point loss to the Huskies earlier this month.