DePaul overcomes second half deficit, wins fifth straight


Julia Kostoloupos | Green Bay Athletics

Kelly Campbell lines up on defense against Green Bay, she would finish with seven points in the fourth quarter.

DePaul took a trip up north to face the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in a Saturday matinee game. The Blue Demons were looking to win their fifth straight game after dispatching Northwestern last Sunday. The Phoenix of Green Bay were looking to get a second win over a ranked team in a row after beating then no. 18 Syracuse last Saturday.

Things wouldn’t come easy yet again for DePaul on the road. UW Green Bay received votes in both polls prior to the clash, and have been playing disciplined basketball all year. They are 25th in the country in turnovers committed per game with just 12.6 errors a contest. And players like Frankie Wurtz have been scoring at will for the Phoenix.

It was a rough shooting day for the Blue Demons as they opened the game 1-for-14 from the field. Shots weren’t falling no matter how open they were. Green Bay was all over DePaul on defense, switching defenders at will and forcing the Blue Demons into a few costly turnovers.

Despite the poor offensive performance, the Blue Demons were able to stay locked in defensively in the first quarter, keeping the game at 12-11 after the first ten minutes. Sophomore guard Sonya Morris had six points for DePaul in the last few minutes of the quarter.

“We couldn’t buy a basket in that whole first half,” head coach Doug Bruno said.

In the second quarter, the Blue Demons began to find a rhythm, junior forward Kiara Dallmann, who played her first minutes of the season coming off of an injury, nailed a three-pointer to open the second quarter.

DePaul was able to force four early turnovers as well, taking a 23-20 lead in the first half of the quarter.

Yet Green Bay found their strengths as well. Frankie Wurtz took over for Green Bay, going on a 7-0 run by herself, opening the team to their 34-25 halftime lead. Wurtz had 14 points in the first half to lead all scorers.

Green Bay would answer every DePaul basket early in the third quarter, as the teams traded blows with the Green Bay lead holding at eight after the first four minutes. Wurtz struck again, giving the Phoenix a 46-36 lead with 5:00 remaining. On the ensuing offensive possession, a 3-pointer by Lyndsey Robson gave the Phoenix their largest lead of the game at 49-36.

Yet DePaul would stick around, a responding effort by Sonya Morris and Lexi Held cut the game to a four-point deficit when Jolene Daninger hit a three to make it a one-point game late in the quarter. Green Bay would respond but the lead was just three going into the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, Morris hit a three to tie things up early. Stonewall would hit a jumper and then get a steal and a dish to Held who put the Blue Demons up four. Held had seven quick points in the quarter.

Lexi Held would hit a three with six minutes left and make it a seven-point lead for the Blue Demons, their largest of the night.

Green Bay wouldn’t be put away for good though. Patricia Gallasova cut the lead to five and the Phoenix would stay in that range for a little.

Yet Lexi Held refused to let the gym get loud. 13 fourth-quarter points silenced the Green Bay crowd and put the game to bed. The Blue Demons would win 75-65.

Her fourth-quarter explosion was due. After the shooting woes early in the game, the shots they wanted finally started to fall, and the Phoenix got the beating end of a DePaul offense hungry for a win.

“It’s really fun to play on the road with crowds like this even if they are against you,” Held said. “It always feels good to silence the crowd, but I was just happy that they were starting to go in.”

One of the big stories of the game was the return of Kiara Dallmann. The 6’2″ forward had been sidelined from basketball play for the past seven weeks due to injury. Dallmann came off the bench and scored five points, a block and two steals in 15 minutes. It was her first action back since then, and the staff didn’t know exactly what to expect as she was coming in.

“You don’t know what you’re going to get when you put her in and we got a nice, strong performance out of Kiara,” Bruno said.

The Blue Demons travel to South Bend, Indiana to face Notre Dame on another road test next Wednesday at 5:30 central.