Women’s Basketball: Blue Demons pull through in local rivalry game against Northwestern


Micky Braeger

Senior guard Sonya Morris looking to pass against Northwestern on Sunday.

In a back and forth game on Autism Awareness Night, DePaul won in an ugly fashion against local rival Northwestern 78-75. The win brings the Blue Demons back in the winning column, now with a 4-1 record.

The Blue Demons started the game by getting to the free throw line. They shot seven free throws within the first five minutes of the game, making six of them. Senior guard Sonya Morris started to click offensively, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Graduate guard Deja Church joined the offensive clinic with five points of her own. DePaul dictated the pace on both ends of the floor. Defensively, they forced six turnovers and scored 13 points off of those turnovers. Offensively, they had 11 fastbreak points, 11 assists and scored half of their first quarter points in the paint. The Blue Demons led the way 32-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Second quarter, the momentum shifted and Northwestern got right back into the game through their zone defense. They forced the Blue Demons to commit 13 turnovers by half and outscored them 25-13, holding them to shoot 37 percent from the field and 20 percent fron the three-point line. The Wildcats evened up the first half through their second quarter surge, bringing what was once a 19 point deficit down to seven, being down 45-38 at the half. DePaul finished the half shooting 44 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point line and 88 percent from the free throw line. Morris led the way with 13 points. Alongside Morris, freshman forward Aneesah Morrow scored 12 points while Church contributed 8 points of her own.

The start of the second half was more of the same. In the battle of the zones, DePaul started the half slow, and Northwestern picked up where they left off, fighting back to take a 48-47 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter. The Blue Demons offensive struggles continued, only shooting 30 percent from the field and committing 9 turnovers. In a back and forth effort, the team still trailed 55-54 heading into the fourth quarter.

Senior guard Lexi Held started the fourth quarter with a strong drive to the cup to give the Lady Blue Demons a 56-55 lead to keep the team alive. Held hit a clutch three-point shot at the 5:50 mark of the game, and Morris followed up with a jumpshot of her own to give the team the 64-62 lead with 4:30 left to play. Held got fouled on a three-point shot with 1:15 left in the game and gave the team a 73-71 lead.

Sophomore guard Darrione Rogers followed up with two free throws of her own to give the team a 75-73 lead. The Blue Demons pulled a defensive stand, deflecting an inbound pass that led to DePaul’s possession that allowed Morris to make two clutch free throws to seal the victory. Morris led the Blue Demons with 20 points. Held scored 16 points while Morrow pitched in a monster double-double game with 15 points 17 rebounds.

Although the team won, DePaul committed 20 turnovers. Head coach Doug Bruno emphasized the importance of Basketball 101 – being able to protect the ball with good passing tactics.

“We did not only turnover the ball, but we turned over the ball that led to Northwestern layups,” Bruno said. “The direct pass to an opponent to a layup that has to be fixed. You have to fake a pass to make a pass.”

Morris discussed how Northwestern disrupted the offense by getting into passing lanes

“[Northwestern] definitely got in the passing lanes a lot, especially toward the end of the game,” Morris said. “We let our guard down a little bit and were not as focused in taking care of the ball. We have to fake a pass to make a pass and take care of the ball.”

The 20 turnovers led to 18 points for the Wildcats, contributing to losing their 19-point lead in the second quarter. Morrow elaborated on how the team was able to push through the adversity they experienced in the game.

“[Uplifitng each other] is very important,” Morrow said. “Our team is like a family, so when we see each other down or make a mistake, we always forgive each other and have each other’s back. That’s the most important thing when we play.”

DePaul plays Rutgers at the Paradise Jam on Thanksgiving Day at noon CST.