DePaul loses second straight game in 90-82 loss to Marquette


Ryan Gilroy | The DePaulia

Chante Stonewall takes a shot during the match against Marquette, Stonewall finished with 12 points.

For most of the 2019-2020 season, DePaul was hitting on all cylinders which allowed them to get off to a 15-1 conference start. But in the Blue Demons’ last two games,  against Villanova and Marquette, the offense has struggled to shoot from deep and contain the opposing team from scoring in bunches which have resulted in two consecutive losses. 

Against Villanova on Feb. 23, DePaul scored a season-low 58 points and went 2-of-24 from behind the arc in a 76-58 loss to the Wildcats. A week later in the regular-season finale against Marquette, the Blue Demons went 30-of-80 from the field and 11-of-31 from deep, while being outrebounded 55-36. The Golden Eagles would end up winning the game 90-83 to split the season series. 

While DePaul has already locked up the Big East regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, the Blue Demons are still looking to improve their resume for the NCAA Tournament. But the start against the Golden Eagles was anything but inspiring by the Lincoln Park team. 

After sophomore guard Lexi Held opened the game with a basket, Marquette would go on to score 16 of the games next 18 points to take a 16-4 lead. The Golden Eagles used their size advantage over DePaul to their advantage, with forward Lauren Van Kleunen leading her team with eight points in the first frame. 

With the Golden Eagles’ size advantage, the home team outrebounded DePaul 15-9 in the first quarter and took six more shots than the visitors. After the hot start from Marquette, however, DePaul was able to settle in and begin clawing its way back into the game. 

The Blue Demons would close the first quarter on a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to seven points, 27-20, heading into the second frame. With DePaul picking up some steam at the end of the first 10 minutes, they were able to build on that in the second and make it a one-possession game early in the second quarter.

Held led the push with seven points and a couple of key defensive stops, including taking two charges to give her team back the ball. Sophomore guard Sonya Morris then had two free throws to tie the game at 29, but she only hit one of them and that would be the closest DePaul would get the rest of the way.

After DePaul was able to cut the game to 29-28, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-0 run to extend their lead back to 37-28. In the final six minutes of the first half, the Blue Demons only managed to score six points. Senior guard Chante Stonewall, who leads DePaul in scoring this season, only recorded her first points of the game with less than a minute to play in the first half. 

While the offense was out of sync for Bruno’s team, the day got even worse when Selena Lott was able to hit a half-court shot at the end of the first half to give her team a 50-34 lead at the break. 

“We took the 13 point hit and came back within one point, and then can’t make a layup,” head coach Doug Bruno said. 

The start of the second half didn’t get any better for DePaul, with Marquette being able to take a 61-39 lead inside the first five minutes of the third quarter. But the Blue Demons were able to find some life towards the end of the quarter by going on a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to 11. Even though DePaul was able to go on a mini-run, they did it without the comfort of knocking down 3-pointers — with the Blue Demons only going 1-of-6 from deep in the third quarter.

And that’s when the Golden Eagles hit the dagger to close the quarter. Jordan King knocked down a three to beat the buzzer and gave her team a more comfortable 66-52 lead heading into the final quarter. 

With Marquette taking back control going into the fourth, they kept their foot on the gas and kept playing with more intensity than their rivals — and it showed during one sequence. Van Kleunen converted a layup, got fouled, but missed the free throw. Then, Alita Anderson picked up the rebound, finished the layup while getting fouled, but she missed the free throw only for Isabelle Spingola to pick up the miss and score another layup. That 6-0 run in a five-second stretch put Marquette up 76-54 with seven minutes to play. 

DePaul, however, showed no quit in the final stretch of the game, with Stonewall and fellow senior Kelly Campbell hitting three straight 3-pointers to help pull their team back within 10, 82-72, with three minutes left in the game. Campbell and Held would then hit a pair of 3-pointers that got closed the gap to five, 83-78, with a minute to play.

But the Golden Eagles prevented the visitors from getting any closer and closed out the game on a 7-5 run to steal a victory over the Blue Demons. 

“We turned them over, we got them tired, we did what we were trying to do,” Bruno said. “We put them in a position where they just didn’t get to come down the floor and survey the floor and get it to their big people. But then you gotta make layups and when you get shots you have to make shots.”

All five DePaul starters finished in double-figures, with Held leading the team with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Campbell scored 12 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter, with all of them coming from behind the arc. 

The Blue Demons will now prepare to host the Big East Tournament from March 6-9 at Wintrust Arena. DePaul is going for its third straight tournament title.