Women’s basketball: Blue Demons’ season cut short with loss to Marquette at Big East Tournament


Donald Crocker

The Blue Demons’ season came to an end with a loss to Marquette in the Big East Tournament on Mar. 5.

UNCASVILLE, Conn — After a regular season that saw the DePaul women’s basketball team dominate in rebounds, rebounding was the downfall for the Blue Demons as they fell to Marquette 105-85 in the first game of the Big East Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday.   

The Blue Demons entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed while Marquette was ranked at No. 5. And while the two teams battled for the entire game, Marquette came out on top in every category, most noticeably in rebounds with 49 while DePaul finished with 17.

Before the game, the Big East conference honored DePaul head coach Doug Bruno for his recent induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.  

Additionally, four Blue Demons also received Big East honors. Senior guard Sonya Morris was named to the All-Big East first team, while senior guard Lexi Held was named to the second team and graduate student guard Deja Church was an honorable mention. 

 Freshman forward Aneesah Morrow received three Big East honors, including being named Big East Freshman of the Year a week after putting up a career-high 41 points against St. John’s Feb. 27.

“[I was] super excited about that,” Morrow said on being honored by the Big East before the game. “This season was very exciting for me, so I’m really happy about that.”

 Morrow carried that dominance over into the first two quarters of her first Big East Tournament game. She made her presence known all over the court and finished the first half with 19 points and four rebounds.  

However, rebounding proved to be an issue for the Blue Demons from the very beginning and the team finished with 12 rebounds while Marquette had 21 and ended the second quarter leading 54-43. 

While the two teams looked evenly matched in the first two quarters, the Blue Demons lacked energy in the second half. They struggled to connect on their passes and their shots lacked purpose, which allowed Marquette to grab the rebounds and take the ball into their own zone.

The Blue Demons went on a run in the fourth quarter where it seemed like they could turn the game around. However, before they were able to fully take off, Marquette shut that energy down and DePaul hit five team fouls and handed free throws to Marquette with every foul the Blue Demons had.

“We know that DePaul is a team that can go on a run with a snap of their fingers,” sophomore forward Liza Karlen, who had a career-high 26 points, said. “So, I just think that coming out with that toughness, coming out with that mentality to keep pushing the ball was huge for us.”

Marquette’s 44 field goals set a Big East Tournament record, while their 105 points were two points shy of the tournament record, despite Marquette not scoring a 3-point basket in the second half. Marquette will take on UConn in the semifinals on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Morrow was held to only six rebounds after Marquette sent out multiple players to guard her from getting rebounds. Those six rebounds snapped her double-double streak after hitting double digits in 23 straight games.

“All year long, we’ve been telling our team, ‘When they send two or three people to keep Aneesah from rebounding, the rest of you have to rebound,’” Bruno said. “So, that should have opened the door. Aneesah Morrow shouldn’t be the reason it was 49-17. There’s four other players on the floor all the time that could reap the benefit of the fact that they sent the kitchen sink in on Aneesah.”  

The team will look different next season, with four prominent members graduating in Morris, Held, Church and Dee Bekelja, who is a valuable player off the bench for the Blue Demons.

However, sophomore guard Darrione Rogers has started in almost every game this season and junior guard Kierra Collier has been averaging over 20 minutes in the final games of the season. Additionally, Morrow is only a freshman and has already set multiple milestones in her career. 

“Just to continue to grow,” Morrow said of her plans for the future. “This is not the way I imagined the end of my season in the Big East Tournament but just to continue to grow every day, and the next day’s a time to get better, so we can’t dwell on the moment.”