UPDATED: DePaul women’s basketball topples Loyola 93-55

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It had been nearly two years since DePaul women’s basketball had a three-game losing streak and coming into Saturday’s game against Loyola, they were potentially facing another one.

The Blue Demons were outmatched against Norte Dame and squandered a late game lead against Northwestern to drop two straight. In particular, the Northwestern loss, head coach Doug Bruno said, was a tough loss for his team to deal with.

“The Northwestern game was especially troublesome because we felt like we beat ourselves,” Bruno said. “(Northwestern) earned the right to win, but in the last two and half minutes when we took a four point lead, it should have been brought home.

“If we had beat Northwestern, we’d still be a nationally ranked team,” he added. “That’s how delicate this ranking system is. We just dropped like a rock.”

With a big game against no. 5/6 Kentucky on Dec. 12, Bruno said the Blue Demons needed a strong performance to bounce back before DePaul’s toughest test in their non-conference schedule.

They did just that.

Chanise Jenkins tied her career-high total of 10 assists and Jasmine Penny scored 19 points as DePaul (4-2) routed Loyola (2-7) 93-55 Saturday to snap the Blue Demons two-game losing streak.

“I thought our players came out ready to play and were sharp,” Bruno said. “It was really important (we came out fast). We don’t have a lot of experience in losing two games in a row. I think our players were in a surly state of mind because of what we didn’t get done last Sunday.”

The Blue Demons got off to a hot start, jumping out to an 11-2 lead. Jenkins had five of DePaul’s first seven assists.  The team finished with 25 assists and there were five Blue Demons who scored in double-figures.

DePaul went into halftime with a 45-23 lead. DePaul had 14 assists on 18 baskets at the half.

“There were a lot of openings in the zone,” Jenkins said. “I just looked for my teammates and they were open. They call my name sometimes, but I’ll find them eventually.”

The Blue Demons had a strong rebounding advantage, winning the rebound battle 43-28.

“Getting defensive rebounds is what gets our running game going,” Penny said. “It’s something we have to do consistently as a team.”

Megan Podkowa scored 14 points (6-8) and grabbed six rebounds while Megan Rogoswki finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds.

The Blue Demons also saw a major contribution from their bench, scoring 38 points. Brandi Harvery-Carr had 10 points and ShaKeya Graves had a career high of 12 points.

Bruno said he was pleased with his bench’s contributions, but wasn’t sure who worked themselves into bigger playing time in the future.

“It’s your classic coaching Catch-22,” Bruno said. “They players all want to play and the coaches want to play them, but in tough tight games like Norte Dame and Northwestern, you can’t afford to be in an experimental mood. “

DePaul’s defense had a solid night holding Loyola to 38 percent in shooting and also forced 23 turnovers, 16 of them in the first half.  

Loyola, however, was without their leading scorers Simone Law and Taylor Johnson due to injury.  Freshman Tiana Karpulos missed the game as well.

DePaul will now prepare for Kentucky. The two met last season and the Wildcats dominated in a 96-64 win. 

“What makes them good is their athleticism,” Bruno said. “They’re going to be in our grill for 40 minutes. If you try to play conservative with them, I think that in someway plays right into their hands. I think we have to be aggressive also.”

Game Notes

–       Freshman Jessica January is day-to-day with an unspecified injury, Bruno said. She missed tonight’s game.

–       Former WNBA legend Sheryl Swoops coaches Loyola.  This is her first year as a head coach.