Women’s Basketball: DePaul’s three-point explosion propels them in non-conference victory over Northern Illinois


Nate Burleyson

Sophomore guard Darrione Rogers squares up from deep in the second quarter against Northern Illinois. Rogers scored a team-high 20 points on the night.

DePaul put on a three-point display, exploding for a season high 18 three-pointers in their 103-71 victory against Northern Illinois on Thursday night. The win puts them at 10-2 overall.

The Blue Demons started the game with five straight points from Sophomore guard Darrione Rogers, including a layup seconds off the opening tip. From that point on, the team shot 2 for 12 from the field, including missing 8 straight shots. Although they had a cold start offensively, The Blue Demons set the tone defensively, applying pressure and forcing turnovers early on in the game and not allowing the Huskies to score for 4 straight minutes. The defensive pressure led to offensive outbursts, allowing The Blue Demons to go on a 9-0 run behind the leadership of Morrow and Held prior to the first break of the game. The 9-0 run gave DePaul a 14-7 lead.

Graduate guard Deja Church scored her first three point basket on the first play out of the break, giving DePaul a 17-5 lead with 3:30 left in the quarter. Morris later jumps on the board for her first basket to add to the Blue Demon lead. The Huskies continued to struggle offensively, not scoring their first basket in over 6 minutes and committing 6 turnovers during that span before hitting two straight baskets. The Blue Demons led 21-9 at the end of the first quarter, shooting 36 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three. 10 of their 21 points came from the paint.

The Blue Demons’ offensive struggles continued, including going on a 3 minute scoring drought before Rogers scored on a layup assisted by Morris in the middle of the second quarter. The team shot 35 percent from the field for the first half. Even though the shots were not consistently falling, the team gained some relief after the first break of the second quarter. Graduate guard Dee Bekelja and Rogers led the way with back to back three pointers to give the team a 33-19 lead. Senior guard Lexi Held joined the party with a three point shot of her own to help expand the lead to 19 points, giving them the 38-19 lead. The team went on a 15-2 run before Church got a steal in the open court and gained an assist thanks to Morris’s layup to close the half. DePaul took a 17 point lead into halftime, leading the Huskies 40-23. Rogers led the team with 12 points, while Church Morrow and Held chipped in 6 points each.

The Blue Demons took over in the second half, putting on a three-point shooting clinic.  The team started the third quarter with layups from Morrow and Church. Afterwards, Held hits a three pointer before the first timeout of the quarter to give the Blue Demons a 49-32 lead. Held continued to find herself offensively, extending the lead with a  pullup jumpshot coming out of the break. Rogers follows suit with a three-point basket to give the team a 56-35 lead with 5 minutes left in the quarter. It became a three-point explosion with Rogers, Held and Bekelja continuing their three-point shooting efforts. To finish out the quarter, Church scored a layup in the final seconds to give the team a 77-51 lead. The team shot 78 percent from the three-point line in the quarter and outrebounded the Huskies 14-9 in the process.

DePaul continued their dominance in the fourth quarter. Church started off the quarter with a three-point field goal giving the team a 80-51 lead. Bekelja later shot another three to extend the lead to 36. Freshman guard Keke Rimmer scored on an “And 1” bucket to give DePaul a 92-55 lead. Junior forward Hannah Purcell came off the bench and continued the three-point shooting spree  and Rimmer followed up with a three-point field goal of her own to extend the lead 98-62. The Blue Demons sealed the deal behind leading scorer Rogers, who finished the game with 20 points. Church chipped in 18 points of her own while Bekelja had 15 points and Held had 14 points.

Rogers shot 50 percent from the three-point line. She expressed her confidence in shooting the rock throughout tonight’s game and credits the team with trusting her ability to make shots.

“Credit goes to my teammates and coaching staff for trusting me and finding me when I’m open,” Rogers said. “Everyone on this team believes in me and I’m just confident in my shot, so I’m just letting rip. Every shot that I take I’m confident that it can go in.”

Morrow had a 16 point, 15 rebound double-double, her fourth consecutive 4 double-double and sixth double-double within the last seven games. Morrow talked about the importance of being a force in the paint, dedicating her impact to bringing consistency to every game.

“Every game my teammates have my back so me being consistent shows that I have my teammates back as well,” Morrow said.

The consistency Morrow brings has the potential to be historical. If selected, she will be the Big East Freshman of the Week for the sixth straight time. Morrow discussed the feeling of making history and the importance of teamwork to achieve it.

“It means a lot to make history that has never been done before,” Morrow said. “I will always talk about my teammates because I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it without them. The hard work and trust they have in me, it means a lot.”

Head coach Doug Bruno is happy for the win, but is already moving on to the next game.

“[St. John’s] is really playing well,” Bruno said. “They are putting up points and playing really good basketball right now so it will be a tough Big East challenge coming up on Sunday.”

The Blue Demons play St. Johns on Sunday at noon CST.