DePaul escapes Creighton with 74-71 win


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

Chante Stonewall guards an inbound play against Arkansas State in November.

Chante Stonewall scored 26 points, Lexi Held added 16 of her 23 points in the second half as DePaul came out of Omaha with a 74-71 win over Creighton and to improve to 3-0 in conference play.

DePaul wasn’t the only Big East team to have a great start to the season. Creighton started 11-3 playing great defense while controlling the ball to the tune of only 10 turnovers a game. It was destined to be a battle for pace control.

In the first quarter, the Blue Jays started off hot from deep, making three of their first five attempts to jump out to an early 11-5 lead. Creighton, a team that holds teams to less than 60 points a game, dictated the pace early. Rachael Saunders knocked down two 3-pointers as DePaul only found offense from senior forward Chante Stonewall and sophomore guard Lexi Held in the first seven minutes. A 16-10 hole was erased after junior forward Kiara Dallmann scored five quick points. DePaul trailed 18-17 after the first quarter. Stonewall had seven points in the quarter.

The second quarter saw both teams go right back at it with Stonewall entering double-figures as Creighton’s Jaylyn Agnew started a tear of her own. Agnew, who is averaging 19.9 points a game, put up 10 points and 4 blocks in the first half. Temi Carda also had 10 points for Creighton. Despite those efforts,  Stonewall’s 20 first-half points pulled DePaul up to a 40-36 lead at the break.

Stonewall scored from a variety of ways in the first half including two and-one plays by the basket, a few turnaround jumpers and layups. DePaul only made three 3-pointers in the first half, short change for a team that averages 12 makes a game on the season. Held added seven points in the first half. Ten offensive boards helped the Blue Demons climb to their lead.

After a poor shooting start for both teams, Agnew took control for Creighton, scoring six points to help tie the game at 47 with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Stonewall was held scoreless for the first stretch of the second half, but Held was able to pour in seven points to help keep the Blue Demons from falling behind. Although Carda’s ten-point quarter kept the Blue Jays within a 60-57 deficit.

Early in the fourth quarter, Carda hit two free throws to put Creighton up 61-60, their first lead since early in the second quarter. Carly Bachelor hit a layup to pull the Blue Jays up 63-60 forcing Doug Bruno to take a timeout.

Out of the timeout and facing a late deficit, the Blue Demons cooked up five points in 20 seconds, a three from Held and a layup by Stonewall put DePaul up 65-63 with 6:14 remaining.

Creighton freshman Carly Bachelor had eight points in the second half. Her points were often responses to DePaul 3s and kept the Blue Demons from getting comfortable.

With Stonewall only having five points in the first 17 minutes of the second half, Held helped pull things together with a big 3-pointer to put the Blue Demons up 71-67 with 1:50 remaining.

Carda tied the game at 71 with two free throws, she shot a perfect (10-for-10) from the line on the day for 24 points. Yet the last four and half minutes saw zero made field goals for the Blue Jays.

But with 6.4 seconds left, Stonewall drove in and was fouled on an effort in the low-post. The senior made 1-of-2 from the line but The Blue Demon press went down on Creighton with 6.4 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Kelly Campbell forced a steal to put the game away for good and after more free throws and a missed desperation heave, the game was sealed at 74-71.

The Blue Demons will host St. John’s on Friday at McGrath-Phillips Arena.