DePaul wins first game of the season in record-setting day against Chicago State

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Eric Henry/The DePaulia

The DePaul women’s basketball team shake hands during Monday’s game against Chicago State.

The DePaul women’s basketball team lost a tight 93-91 matchup against #12 Texas A&M on Saturday in their season opener but turned around quickly for a Monday matchup against Chicago State. They took their fast-paced attack and press to the teeth of the Cougars, winning 128-66, the 128 points being a new school record. 

DePaul got out to a very hot start, going up 24-5 after just five minutes of play. At first, the Blue Demons scored on a few drives, with senior Dee Bekelja and junior Lexi Held attacking the paint. Then, as they started to force some Chicago State mistakes, the threes started dropping and they extended their lead. 

Through the first quarter, a few new faces on the team got some reps in. Freshmen Kendall Holmes and Darrione Rogers both knocked down threes. The team shot 5-for-8 from deep in the first quarter and forced 13 turnovers on their way to a very commanding 40-13 lead. 

Holmes ended the day with 23 points as Rogers added 12 points and 3 rebounds. The two are the only freshman on the roster. 

“I really believe these two are talented players,” head coach Doug Bruno said. “They learn from their mistakes and experiences that take place during the game, and I think they’re both just going to get better exponentially.”

DePaul’s starters would sit until 5:30 left in the second quarter as the second unit did some work. They only allowed four points through there to their 12. As the starters came back on, the offense started rolling with Lexi Held’s eight second-quarter points to make her total 15 for the half to lead all scorers. The Blue Demons led 67-32 at the half. 

In the first half, DePaul forced 19 turnovers, scoring 38 points off of those turnovers. The quick baskets off of Chicago State mistakes proved fruitful for the Blue Demons, who shot 61.1 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from deep in the first 20 minutes. 

“Yeah, that’s just DePaulBall,” junior guard Sonya Morris said. “Being able to convert on the other team’s mistakes and convert them into our own points. I think that we just kept our focus really well and stayed composed.”

The second half saw DePaul continue its winning ways that they started in the first half. They stormed to extend their lead to 83-34, as Held, Sonya Morris and Bekelja did some scoring work. 

It seemed like the whole team couldn’t miss during the third quarter. They once again got off to a good start, and the offense continued to roll off of turnovers and set plays. Another four 3-pointers from the DePaul offense helped them get to a 97-47 lead at the end of the quarter. 

Holmes would continue on her stellar day by scoring the first eight points of the fourth quarter for the Blue Demons. She would end the day with 23 points to go along with Held’s and Morris’ 23.

DePaul is now 1-1 after the win Monday. After falling short against Texas A&M, the 20th ranked Blue Demons went into today with some goals in mind. 

“One of the biggest things was rebounding that we talked about and trying to stay clean on defense,” Held said. “I think we had a better emphasis on rebounding this game, but we definitely will do better on the free throw aspect.”