Second half surge not enough as DePaul drops 81-67 to Louisville


Steve Woltmann | DePaul Athletics

Junior guard Darrione Rogers races upcourt past a Louisville defender in DePaul’s loss to the Cardinals on 12/21.

Wednesday night at Wintrust Arena served as DePaul’s biggest challenge yet. Televised on Fox Sports, the Blue Demons looked to pick up an  important win over head coach Jeff Walz’s Louisville Cardinals. Trying to claw back late, DePaul fell 81-67. 

Coming off a Final Four appearance last season, the Cardinals came in on a four-game win streak, with one of the more skilled guards in the country in junior Hailey Van Lith who had a 17-point night Wednesday. 

This marked the 34th all-time meeting between DePaul and Louisville. Previously, Louisville took a commanding win back in December of 2020. In 2016, the two met in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament where DePaul took the 73-72 win. 

From tip-off Louisville had an upper hand on the Blue Demons. They made things difficult and forced DePaul’s offense into poor shot selection as each possession went deep into the shot clock. 

“Louisville is another level of competition. We expected them to make good shots, and we weren’t passing. We took some terrible shots to start the game and dug ourselves in a big hole,” said head coach Doug Bruno said. 

DePaul shot just 31% from the field in the first half, and defensively, were on pace to give up 100 points. 

Louisville graduate guard Chrislyn Carr, who stands at just 5-foot-5, gave the Blue Demons their hardest challenge defensively. She finished with a Louisville team-high 21 points and 17 rebounds. Carr, the shortest player on the court, had more than double the rebounds of any one of DePaul’s starting five.

At halftime, DePaul trailed by 17 after junior Darrione Rogers hit a three point shot to beat the buzzer. The shot gave the Blue Demons a bit of a spark as the second half started. 

In the third quarter, DePaul outscored the Cardinals 20-12 and closed out the period with a 10-0 run, trimming the Cardinal’s lead from 17 to just four. This was the closest Bruno’s squad would come to a lead, as Van Lith’s 11 fourth-quarter points gave Louisville control.

For the majority of the game, DePaul looked out of sorts. In its last two games, DePaul has had little production from their bench and has played with just seven players all season. 

Although a frustrating loss, the second-half resilience from the Blue Demons is perhaps something to build from with the Big East schedule now underway. 

“It’s going to prepare us a lot. [Louisville] is next level, and when it comes to March and things like that, these are the types of games… we are going to play good teams like Louisville,” Rogers said. “I feel like they prepared us for the rest of the year.” 

On Wednesday Dec. 28, DePaul (9-4, 2-0 Big East) will play host to Providence at Wintrust Arena for another Big East showdown. Although Providence is 9-5, the Friars have struggled in Big East play, going winless in their three games. 

DePaul will look to get in the win column against the Lady Friars before playing No. 21 Creighton on Dec. 31. 

Tip-off for Dec. 28 is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST and can be viewed on FloSports.