Women’s Basketball: DePaul defeats Loyola Chicago in Red Line rivalry game


Donald Crocker/The DePaulia

DePaul guard Deja Church looks to get past a Loyola Chicago defender on Friday at Wintrust Arena.

DePaul had a true team effort that led to a 34-point blowout win against the Loyola Chicago Ramblers 87-53 on Friday at Wintrust Arena. This gives them their second win of the season and a leg up in this year’s Red Line rivalry. 

The Blue Demons started the game off strong with layups on back to back possessions from senior guard Sonya Morris and sophomore guard Darrione Rogers. Offensively the team struggled from the 3point line, shooting only 1-8 from range .The one 3-pointer came from a half-court buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter by Rogers. 

DePaul’s inside scoring was a different story — 30 of the team’s 42 points came in the paint. The team also got some help from the free throw line, shooting 7-of-9 from the stripe. The team finished the first half shooting 46 percent from the field, 12 percent from the three and 78 percent from the free throw line, while committing seven turnovers.  

Aside from a few offensive struggles, the defense set the tone for DePaul, causing the Ramblers to commit 10 turnovers and 6 steals within the first half alone. The Ramblers struggled at times to get going offensively, only shooting 36 percent from the field. But the team was able to stay in the game behind their 3-point shooting, making 5 of 11 from distance. 

The second half was more of the same. Defensively, the Blue Demons forced the Ramblers to commit 21 turnovers for the game and shoot 24 percent from the 3-point line. 

“DePaul’s pressure in the full court is typically what normally everybody focuses on and I thought we did a great job handling that, and at times they fell back from that,” Loyola Chicago head coach Kate Achter said. “I thought it was poor decision-making in the half court. We were trying to throw passes when maybe there was just a little bit more pressure at the guard spot or dribbling into coffin areas where you can be trapped and they can turn up the pressure if they need to. We prepared for the full court, but we need to prepare harder for the half court.”

The Blue Demons dominated in the rebounding department, finishing the game with 51 rebounds (20 of them on the offensive end), to go along with 23 assists. Morris led the way by scoring 13 of her 23 points. Senior guard Lexi Held had 13 points of her own and dished out 8 assists. Rogers dropped 15 points and 11 rebounds that included an ankle-breaking 3-point bucket to cap off the victory with five minutes left in the game.

Rogers detailed her mindset as she was living the ankle-breaking experience.

“My mindset was to focus and make the shot,” Rogers said. “When it happened, I was focused on shooting the ball and making the ball go in the basket regardless if the opponent was on the floor. That was my thought process.”

The ankle-breaking shot was a tough shot that she has worked to implement into her game. She believes her confidence played a role in her shooting so far this season, and the hard work she has been putting in is starting to pay off.

“I’m really confident heading into this season,” Rogers said. “My teammates and coaching staff do a good job of passing me the ball and putting me in situations where I’m open. It’s honestly repetition. I’ve been working on my shot a lot this offseason and it is starting to show a little bit more. It is still a lot for me to improve on still, but overall I’m growing as a player.”

Morris wanted to make an emphasis on leading the team this year in more than one way on a consistent basis. She highlighted how in this game, even though it was nice being the leading scorer, her biggest impact was more from an emotional standpoint. 

“Even though the 23 points is nice, it is really all the other things like the intangibles,” Morris said. “I still need to work on my attitude, keeping my attitude together, uplifting people when they make a mistake, making sure the team is on the same page, stuff like that.”

Head coach Doug Bruno emphasized the good attitude Morris brings to the team.

“When you know Morris from the inside-out, you know that she is a good person,” Bruno said. “She is a very competitive person and sometimes it looks like she is in a place where she really is not. I think she has had a great attitude all this year.”

Graduate guard Deja Church contributed with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Bruno elaborated on the strategy Church is bringing to games and how using that strategy is not only helping the team, but benefiting her from an impact perspective. 

“[Deja] is starting to put games together,” Bruno said. “When she rebounds, defends and gets to the rim, it is when she has her best games. Then the 3-pointers follow after that versus starting with the 3-point shot then getting to the rim. She is starting to understand that and is becoming more consistent.”

DePaul will play their next game on the road against Texas A&M on Monday, Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. CST.