Creighton upsets DePaul in Big East opener


Beginning their quest for their sixth-consecutive Big East regular-season title, No. 19/20 DePaul Women’s Basketball did not get off to the start they were hoping for as they were as the Blue Jays came into McGrath-Phillips Arena and upset Blue Demons 85-82 Saturday night.

After having a week off after their last non-conference game of the season, DePaul struggled to score and defend in the first quarter. Their first two possessions resulted in two turnovers and one shot being blocked. However, Creighton, who also had a week off after finishing their non-conference schedule, didn’t look rusty at all. The Blue Jays quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead before DePaul would score their first points in the game. It took DePaul head coach Doug Bruno to make substitutions for the home team to start scoring and playing better defense.

“I think it was Creighton doing a good job on the defensive side of the ball,” Bruno said after the loss to Creighton. “They were prepared for what we do and taking us out of what we do. Since we are a quick scoring team and are capable of scoring quickly, and when you don’t score quickly do some pretty silly things.

As the first quarter was coming to an end Creighton went on another 9-0 run to close out the quarter, which gave them a 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, when both teams came out for the second quarter it was a completely different game as DePaul started the quarter on a 10-0 run and tied the game at 25 before Creighton would score its first points in the second.

“I thought in the second quarter we did a good job of getting Creighton at the rim,” Bruno said. “Then in the third and fourth quarter we were never in great offensive rhythmic sync.”

The Blue Demons were led by freshman guard Sonya Morris in the second quarter, who came off the bench to provide a much needed 10 points. She went 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from behind the arc to close out the half. Her energy on both ends of the floor helped the Blue Demons take the lead and put pressure on the Blue Jays in the second quarter.

“I thought she (Morris) did a great job,” Bruno said. “She gave us a great lift in the second quarter, she was really upbeat and positive.”

DePaul went into halftime leading 42-35 after another 13-0 run to end the quarter that figured to give the Blue Demons momentum heading into the second half.

As both teams came out for the start of the second half, however, it was Creighton who got off to a good start. Forcing the Blue Demons into tough shoots on offense and then creating good of their own allowed the Blue Jays to claw back into the game. DePaul was able to keep pace thanks in-part to junior forward Chante Stonewall and her nine points in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter began much the same as how the third quarter ended with both teams trading baskets and trading leads. However, Creighton took some control of the game in the middle of the quarter after knocking down back-to-back 3-point shots, which gave them a 77-71 lead. DePaul did not go away quietly, however, and even took a 81-79 lead with 1:45 left in the game, but it was Creighton who made the all important run in the final minute of the game.

“Like Coach Bruno always says defense and rebounding, and we needed to execute more on that,” Stonewall said. “We can’t make every shot, but rebounding and making stops would have helped us.”

Senior guard Ashton Millender and Stonewall combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter and were the ones keeping the Blue Demons in the game.

“I feel like it just came to us,” Millender said. “How our offense works anyone can score and we were the ones who scored, but it just came to us.”

The Blue Demons scored one point the final 1:45 as they watched the Blue Jays go on a 6-1 run to end the game. DePaul did have one final chance at the end of the game down by three, freshman guard Lexi Held took a step-back three-pointer that almost went in.

“I probably would have liked Dahlman (taking the last shot), but I didn’t think she was having a great game tonight,” Bruno said. “We ran a flair for Ashton the previous possession and it didn’t get read properly, so we didn’t get a good look on that possession. I thought that Lexi has answered pretty well this year in some tough spots, so that’s why the decision was her’s.”

Creighton’s win over DePaul snapped a nine game losing streak to the Blue Demons. DePaul will be back in action against Providence at home on Monday.