Four players finished in double figures as Blue Demons grab 96-45 opening win


Lucas Paredes

Senior guard Anaya Peoples dribbles past a defender in DePaul’s 96-45 win over American University in the team’s 2022-23 season opener.

The Blue Demons didn’t skip a beat Wednesday, in route to a 96-45 win over American University. DePaul women’s basketball showed glimpses of this season’s potential, as four players ended the season opener with double figures in the scoring column. 

DePaul jumped out to a 24-8 lead as the first quarter came to an end. They never looked back, as they held their largest lead of the game of 51 points at the 2:51 minute mark of the fourth quarter. 

Wednesday’s win made DePaul 37-12 all-time in season openers. 

“You never know what you’re going to get when you open the season,” said head coach Doug Bruno. “You’re really excited for the season to start and you’ve watched your team in practice and you’re excited for what you’ve seen in practice, but you don’t know what’s going to happen until you hit the floor. I thought we came out on the floor with quality energy top to bottom.” 

Campaigning for another All-American season, sophomore Aneesah Morrow picked up where she left off from 2021-22, leading the way in scoring for DePaul with 24 points. She shot an efficient 10-17 from the field, to go along with eight rebounds and six steals. 

Morrow spoke about her preparation coming into the season, and how she could build off last season’s performances. 

“Just stay focused, not being complacent,” Morrow said. “I feel that’s the biggest thing for me, throughout the summer staying focused and continuing to set goals on a daily basis.” 

It was the debut for transfers Anaya Peoples and Jade Edwards, and both played over 20 minutes, showcasing their talents in the starting lineup. 

For a team lacking size around the rim, Peoples, a 5-foot-10 guard, showed her versatility, recording her sixth career double-double and her first as a member of the Blue Demons. She finished the night with 14 points, 10 rebounds and a block. 

“Honestly though I worked on my game a lot, but like coach Bruno, he believed in since 8th grade, this is what I’ve been able to do. Just be an all around player,” Peoples said. “Assist, get rebounds, score when needed, so I mean I did work a lot in the off-season, but honestly that’s just my game. Having a coach who believes in me, teammates who believe in me is what changed.”

As for Edwards, she struggled in her debut playing against her former team. Edwards was 0-5 on field goal attempts in her 22 minutes of play, showing signs that she is still adjusting to new roles on the team.

Three-point shooting could be something that will bug the Blue Demons throughout the season, but not for junior Darrione Rogers. Last season, Rogers shot 40 percent from three, making 62, which was second on the team. She was one of four players to get into double figures Wednesday, finishing with 18 points, while shooting 2-7 from three. 

Starting the season with injuries is something no head coach wants to hear, but for Bruno and his 2022-23 squad, those were the circumstances. 

Prior to the game, it was announced that four Blue Demons would be sidelined for the game, and more importantly, the foreseeable future with injuries.

A pair of freshman guards, Haley Walker and Maeve McErlane, both sustained significant knee injuries ahead of last night’s opener. Walker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her ACL and will miss the entirety of the 2022-23 season. As for McErlane, she will be re-evaluated in December after tearing her meniscus in the right knee.  

Seniors Kierra Collier and Nazlah Morrow, were also ruled out due to personal reasons. 

The game plan never changed for DePaul, even with so many players down. The Blue Demons were aggressive on the boards and creating second chance points played a large part in the Blue Demons win. 

They outrebounded the Eagles 50 to 28; and created 23 second chance points in Wednesday’s game.

Bruno and his team were also stout defensively, causing 31 turnovers and four blocks, which led to not only 32 points off turnovers, but 17 fast break points. 

Senior Keke Rimmer was finally back on the floor for DePaul. After missing her entire sophomore season in 2020 with an injury, she only appeared in 13 games last year as she was still gaining her footing. 

Coming off the bench, Rimmer tied her career high with 13 points and achieved a career high with nine rebounds, as she was the main contributor to DePaul’s 34 bench points. 

It was a promising sight for the team last night when freshman guards Tara Daye and Zaria Hurston combined for 16 points off the bench. A potential increase in playing time for the two newcomers could be seen in future games as the team continues to get healthy. 

“Tonight was a game we could play the freshmen. They are going to have to play,” Bruno said. “It’s just a matter of how many at a time and how much.” 

Bruno and the Blue Demons will be back in action Saturday Nov. 12, at 1:00 PM CST to take on the Huskies of Northern Illinois in DeKalb.