DePaul closes out 2018 with win over Providence


After a tough lose to begin conference play against Creighton on Saturday, No. 19/20 DePaul rebounded with an 88-62 win over Providence Monday afternoon at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The Blue Demons were spearheaded by senior Mart’e Grays, who had 19 points and a career high 14 rebounds. Freshmen guard Lexi Held and senior Tanita Allen. Held also had huge contributions in the second half combining for 18 points while four-of-six 3-point shots.

“Just the more I play, I become more confident,” Held said. “My coaching staff and teammates have confidence in me to play my game.”

Grays’ contribution was important in the second half as she grabbed crucial rebounds that led to second chance points for DePaul. She also did a fine job in the post and getting good looks most of the game close to the basket.

“Just focusing on the little details, getting inside on the offensive rebounds, blocking person out on the defensive rebounds, so just the little things,” Grays said.

Early in the first quarter DePaul came out firing on all cylinders, making three early 3-pointers and led by eight points within the first six minutes of the game. However, Providence kept hanging around in the quarter and finished on an 11-4 run in the final four minutes.

During that cold streak for the Blue Demons, DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno had three freshmen in the game, Maya Stovall,  Held and Sonya Morris. In that stretch they were all on the floor, alongside Grays and Allen, the Friars went on a 7-0 run to cut DePaul’s lead to one.

“First of all foul trouble made that decision,” Bruno said on why he played all three freshmen at the same time. “I think these freshmen are good and are helping us, it’s always tricky to be able to get freshmen experience and at the same time not cost the overall picture of what you are trying to achieve in the process. When you are a program that’s moving along like we are, you can’t just give these guys experience and blow the game over it. I just think it’s important that you do get freshmen experience.”

For the rest of the first quarter and entirety of the second quarter both teams struggled to score points that featured lengthy cold streaks. While the Blue Demons scored just 16 points in the second quarter, the Friars were worse finishing with nine points including just one made field goal in the final five and a half minutes of the quarter that also featured four turnovers in that time period.

Coming out of the locker room, DePaul asserted their will in a quarter that has been kind to them before this season. The Blue Demons opened the quarter hitting four-of-seven 3-point shots in the first couple of minutes and dominated on the defensive end as well.

Junior guard Kelly Campbell, who was scoreless in the first half, had eight points in the third quarter and was 2-3 from the 3-point line, alongside Allen who had seven points in the quarter.

“When we went to the locker room, the team talked about being focused and paying attention to the little details,” Allen said. “We knew if we wanted to keep the score where it was and to continue to be successful we have to have each others back throughout the rest of the game.”

One noticeable change coming out of the locker was Bruno’s choice to sit graduate senior Rebekah Dahlman in favor of Held. Dahlman who didn’t have a particularly great first half didn’t play in the second half and played just under six minutes in the entire game.

“It wasn’t a big decision at all,” Bruno said. “It was just one of those things where Dahlman is our starter and I’m not changing the starting lineup over a game. She’s a sixth senior and I expect the most wisdom out of the most experienced players. I was in a challenging mood today. The reason we are supposed to be good this season is because we have four seniors and two juniors, and they haven’t been playing ball yet. If you aren’t going to play ball than we have other people who are going to play ball.”

The rest of the second half was pretty much the same story, DePaul kept dominating the game on both ends of the floor. Held and Allen both did a great job in the second half of spacing the floor and knocking down three-pointers, they combined to go 4-6 from behind the arc in the second half.

DePaul beat Providence for the 12th straight time and is 11-0 against the Friars at home. The Blue Demons will be back in action against their rival Marquette on Friday.