DePaul women’s basketball handles Miami, starts season 1-0

Sophomore+Jolene+Daninger+takes+the+ball+in+against+Miami+%28OH%29%2C+Daninger+came+off+the+bench+to+score+14+points.+
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DePaul women’s basketball handles Miami, starts season 1-0

Sophomore Jolene Daninger takes the ball in against Miami (OH), Daninger came off the bench to score 14 points.

Sophomore Jolene Daninger takes the ball in against Miami (OH), Daninger came off the bench to score 14 points.

Ryan Gilroy

Sophomore Jolene Daninger takes the ball in against Miami (OH), Daninger came off the bench to score 14 points.

Ryan Gilroy

Ryan Gilroy

Sophomore Jolene Daninger takes the ball in against Miami (OH), Daninger came off the bench to score 14 points.

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DePaul’s women’s basketball team opened up their season on Friday night against Miami (OH) in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at Wintrust Arena. The reigning Big East tournament champions came out of the gates running, with their classic full-court press and openness to the 3-point shot. The Blue Demons paced their way to a 98-79 win. 

In the first quarter, expected starters Deja Church, Chante Stonewall, Kelly Campbell, Sonya Morris, and Lexi Held spread the ball evenly. Through the first few minutes of play, all got a bucket and the Blue Demons cruised to a 28-13 lead in the first quarter. 

But the game didn’t all rest on the shoulders of the starters, sophomore Jolene Daninger came off the bench to add her own spin to the game. Her 10 first-half points propelled the team to an even bigger lead. Daninger was 2-for-4 from three in the first half to go with three rebounds.

The sophomore is spending her third year on the program, due to an illness that kept her at a redshirt status in years prior. “We always talk about freshman to sophomore year you kind of jump up so I think it was just that I mean practicing with girls like Chante every day in practice really helps and so it’s a process but, year, it’s been nice to play with great teammates,” Daninger said.

The glass was a big part of DePaul’s dominance over the RedHawks, through the first half, they had 30 rebounds to Miami’s 13, with 15 offensive rebounds leading to 13 second-chance points. Ball movement has been a key part of head coach Doug Bruno’s system, the Blue Demons assisted 13 of their 19 field goals in the first half. 

Turnovers also played a big role in the demise of the RedHawks and in favor of DePaul, the visiting side turned the ball over 18 times in the first half. Each starter on DePaul had a steal in the first half. The Blue Demons ran out to a 51-29 halftime lead.

“We just turned the ball over too much and we looked like a team that graduated a ton [of players],” Miami head coach Deanna Hendricks said.

In the third quarter, Stonewall took over and scored the first seven points of the quarter, recording a double-double with 8:26 remaining in the quarter. Stonewall would end the game with 23 points and 12 rebounds. “It’s a mature thing just evolving as a player, and knowing that’s kind of what my identity is for this team,” Stonewall said. “Last year, I feel like I did a better job rebounding.”

Then the three-pointers started to find the bottom of the net. DePaul hit 4-of-6 to increase their lead to 32 with 3:30 to go in the quarter. 

The Blue Demons continued their onslaught on offense, with Sonya Morris coming into double digits along with Deja Church, both added needed scoring for the Blue Demons. 

Kelly Campbell was excellent, after three quarters the senior captain had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists, the key facilitator that helped the team go up 81-50, comfortably putting the game away before the final quarter. 

Miami’s leading scorer from their 23-9 2018-19 campaign, Lauren Dickerson, was erased by the Blue Demons’ defense, who didn’t let her score in the first three quarters while putting her in foul trouble.

The fourth quarter came and went, with the Blue Demons letting five freshmen get the bulk of the late minutes.

“It’s just positive for them to get on the floor and have to deal with the experience of understanding the pace of the game,” Bruno said.

After the four quarters, the Blue Demons held onto their big lead despite garbage time points from the RedHawks. DePaul starts the season 1-0 with a 98-79 win. They advance to the second round of the WNIT on Monday in Lincoln Park to face the winner of Drexler/Davidson.