Blue Demons fall to 1-2 for the first time since 2020 after loss to Cleveland State


Erin Henze

Junior guard Darrione Rogers and teammates exit the court in frustration as Cleveland State players celebrate upon the final buzzer of the Vikings’ 90-83 overtime over DePaul Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

Following a 90-83 overtime loss to the Cleveland State Vikings, DePaul is only three games in and starting to gain an identity they might not want.

Parts of DePaul’s issues are no fault of their own as injuries continue to pile up. 

It had been a long week for head coach Doug Bruno and his team. The Blue Demons went from losing their first game on Saturday, to finding out their starting guard would need season ending surgery to repair her ACL and Meniscus in the left knee, which had lots of impact leading up to Tuesday’s game against Cleveland State. 

During the offseason, Bruno spoke to DePaulia as he reiterated that this team has numerous unknowns. It is still in the process of incorporating players to new roles as changes to roster have been made. 

Tuesday’s game started the same way it did against NIU. Blue Demons were knocking down shots, getting steals leading to transition baskets, but once Cleveland State was able to grab rebounds and run the floor, they found themselves with several open three-point shots, which got them right back into the game.

Sophomore forward Aneesah Morrow secures possession from a defender in DePaul’s loss to Cleveland State. Morrow scored a career-high 42 points against the Vikings Tuesday night. (Erin Henze)

DePaul’s three-point shooting woes continue to be an issue that the Blue Demons have yet to figure out. They shot 16.7 percent in Tuesday’s loss, the lowest it’s been in their first three games. 

“I don’t worry, there’s not anything we can do, short of just don’t take threes,” Bruno said. “But you can’t play the game of basketball and not take threes. That’s tough to win a ball game that way, but we still put ourselves in position to win it and didn’t get the job done, so you can’t just blame it on the missed shooting. When the shots aren’t going in, you have to find a way.” 

For how physical DePaul is as a team they were matched Tuesday night splitting the rebound battle at 49 with the vikings. The big contributor for Cleveland State’s win was their production from the bench. While DePaul had a disappointing four points from bench players, the Vikings combined for 46, outsourcing their starters. 

Sophomore Aneesah Morrow gave everything she could, but could only do so much to keep her team in the game. Morrow, surpassed her career-high of 41 points last season in a win over Creighton. Even while playing the entire fourth and overtime quarter with four fouls, Morrow put up a new career-high of 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a losing effort. 

DePaul players were not available for the media following the loss, a decision that was made by Bruno, who chose not to put his players in front of the media following their performance. 

From missing easy layups under the basket, to not capitalizing on free throws, nothing seemed to land in DePaul favor Tuesday. The team also shot a poor free throw percentage at 55.6 percent, which affected the team late in the game. 

“Free throws are a huge deal,” Bruno said. “There is no real magic formula as a coach for great free throw shooting. Basically a free throw is one of the only selfish acts in the game of basketball. People have to be able to make free throws.”

The Blue Demons also caught themselves making careless turnovers, instead of what Bruno said was to make the simple pass. 

The schedule now shifts for DePaul, and while still being short-handed, Bruno will have to try and assess gameplans for a tougher part of the schedule. Teams are now starting to double-team Morrow, making the players around her try and beat them. 

DePaul has now finished the easier part of their non-conference schedule with a 1-2 record, and will host the University of Miami (FL) Sunday at 4:00 p.m CST. Following that game, The Blue Demons are off to the Elevance Health Fort Myers Tip-off. A tournament in Fort Myers, FL where they will play Maryland, Pittsburgh and Towson.