DePaul pulls away from No. 16 Miami to win Maggie Dixon Classic championship


Xavier Ortega | The DePaulia

After they cruised to a 37 point victory on Friday, DePaul had just 24 hours to turn around and face a top 20 team in the country for the Maggie Dixon Classic championship. The Miami Hurricanes were coming off a one-point win against North Carolina A&T on Friday.

It was hard to notice the lack of rest for either team as they came out firing. After a hard-fought 4o minutes, 27 points from senior Chante Stonewall lifted DePaul over Miami to improve to 4-1 on the year.

In the first quarter, the Blue Demons outpaced the Hurricanes hard. They had 24 shots to Miami’s eight, yet perfect free throw shooting from the visitors kept the game within 1, as the Blue Demons lead 21-20 going into the second quarter. Eight points from senior forward Chante Stonewall was the key effort for DePaul.

DePaulball was in full effect throughout the first half. The Blue Demons kept shooting through any slumps and were able to force 15 first-half turnovers.

Miami center Beatrice Mompremier was the key piece in the Hurricane’s offense. Whenever Miami broke the press, they were able to find the reliable 6’4″ senior down low, where she shot 6-for-7 in the first half. Mompremier had 15 points and eight rebounds in the first half alone. She finished with 31 points on the night.

The senior was the tallest player on the floor the whole night and the challenge was great for DePaul. “It doesn’t matter if our biggest players are guarding Beatrice Mompremier, it’s a mismatch,” head coach Doug Bruno said.

Although the overall rebound differential was big at points in the first half, the Blue Demons were able to get a lot of their work from the offensive glass, where the team had eight rebounds to only two from Miami. These second-chance points coupled with their already quick pace were the driving force behind their style.

Jolene Daninger hit a buzzer-beater to tie the game at 41 going into halftime.

In the third quarter, DePaul was faced with the full wrath of Mompremier. The senior had seven of her points in the quarter and helped Miami jump out to control the lead. Yet at the end of the quarter, a flurry of defense and quick layups put the Blue Demons up 66-60. Chante Stonewall had seven points in the quarter.

Quickly into the fourth quarter, the Blue Demons scored the first six points, extending their lead to 72-60. Junior Deja Church, Stonewall and sophomore Jolene Daninger combined to put the Blue Demons up 78-69 with 4:53 remaining.

The Hurricanes wouldn’t back down, quick points, as well as a few defensive stops, brought them within three points with 3:00 remaining.

Both teams went back and forth down the stretch while well over the foul bonus. The game came down to free throws as both teams got their chances. Miami missed two critical free throws in the final minutes and DePaul was near perfect from the line in the quarter as the team shot 16-for-17 from the free-throw line, winning 89-83.

Stonewall’s 27 points were coupled with 16 from Lexi Held, as well as perfect 6-for-6 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter for senior Kelly Campbell.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win so I knew I needed to put those free throws in to secure the win,” Campbell said.

Stonewall’s performance notched her the MVP award for the tournament. Daninger and Campbell were named to the all-tournament team.

“I was just trying to play throughout our offense,” Stonewall said. “We run a freelance offense so like everybody plays everywhere so it was really nice that my teammates could find me in all the spots.”

The Blue Demons improve to 4-1 on the season and will face UW-Milwaukee on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Wintrust Arena.