The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Late-game surge not enough for DePaul against conference rival

Max Clement
DePaul graduate guard Michelle Sidor drives to the rim in a match against Providence Feb. 7, at Wintrust Arena.

As DePaul graduate guard Anaya Peoples charged to the rim and scored a critical layup, the once 19-point lead the Marquette Golden Eagles had shrunk to four with 2 minutes and 16 seconds left on the game clock. 

DePaul women’s basketball had the chance to pull off a miracle comeback win at Wintrust Arena Tuesday night against their historic conference rival. The age-old saying that basketball is a game of runs rang true as momentum swung from side to side throughout the game.

Unfortunately for the Blue Demons, time ran out as Marquette iced the game with free throws in the waning moments to win 69-58.

DePaul only led the contest for 49 seconds, playing catch-up from the opening jump ball, but head coach Doug Bruno was proud of his players’ efforts.

“The players did a great job of coming back in the first half chasing 15 (points) and then cutting it to five at halftime,” Bruno said. “We let them have a 23-point lead in the second half and cut it to four. So, what the players did to continue to fight, to continue to come back was very impressive.”

DePaul played well in the second and fourth periods, where they outscored Marquette by three and eight points, respectively, while shooting above 50%. However, the first and third periods were much sloppier. Turnovers and a stagnant offense plagued DePaul and allowed Marquette’s lead to balloon to 23 near the end of the third period.

“24 turnovers is far too many,” associate head coach Jill M. Pizzotti told Radio DePaul Sports after the game. “It’s imperative that you take care of the basketball, and we certainly lost some opportunities to get some baskets because we turned it over.”

Bruno said his team needs to figure out how to play the entire game with the same level of intensity and urgency they play with coming from behind. 

“That’s been the riddle, the trick the entire season,” he said.

This attempted comeback would not have been possible without the efforts of guard Katlyn Gilbert and forward Jorie Allen, who both notched double-digit points. Fresh off being named Big East Player of the Week, Peoples struggled to find her shot but battled on the glass, grabbing a team-best 12 rebounds with four in the final period.

“We get in timeouts and coach says, ‘Just get this one-stop, just get this one bucket,’” Allen said. “And as you rack them up, you gain confidence, as with any player in any game. So we just had some players step up. We were able to get some buckets and make a run at them. But, like coach said, we really need to have that edge the whole game.”

Marquette boasted a notable size advantage in the frontcourt, with three of their main contributors standing at 6’0 and above. In their first meeting in Milwaukee Jan. 13, Marquette outscored DePaul in the paint by 26, accounting for 56% of their points. DePaul lost by 31 with poor performances all around, including Allen, who was held to eight points on 1-10 shooting — a season-low in Big East play.

“We went up to Milwaukee, they dominated us in pretty much every aspect of the game,” Allen said. “So, we had to come in here with extreme toughness and be aggressive, but also we had nothing to lose. There was really no pressure to perform. We just had to come out and do what we do.”

Allen rebounded from DePaul’s last matchup with Marquette with her best performance in conference play, scoring 18 points and shooting 8-10 from the field. DePaul’s guards looked for Allen inside early and often. Much of that is because her coaches and teammates have built up her confidence to carry the offensive load at times.

“I took my time and once you see one go down, the confidence builds and it kept going, kept attacking,” Allen said. “My teammates, they’re always in my corner. They always tell me to keep going at them. A lot of it was just getting back to practice and coming in and knowing everybody behind me had confidence in me and I was able to get some in today.”

Currently, Allen ranks first on the team in shooting percentage at 47%, second in total rebounds, and first in the plus/minus category, which indicates a player’s impact on the game by measuring the change in score while they are on the court.

Although riding a two-game losing streak, DePaul women’s basketball has been playing competitive, gritty Big East basketball lately with impressive wins over Providence and at Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler.

“It’s what we get done on the defensive end of the floor,” Pizzotti said of these competitive matchups. “You have to be able to make stops, you have to limit them to only one shot per possession.”

DePaul has not been an easy team to score points with. According to DePaul statistics, the women’s team could be on pace to finish below 80 points scored per game for a second consecutive year. Their previous four years all were above 81 points scored. With four games left on the schedule, DePaul will need their offense to step up to create momentum heading into March. 

“Offensively, we’ve had some challenges scoring the ball,” Pizzotti said. “We’re trying to make sure our players stay in an aggressive mindset. We have yet to see three or four players shoot a high clip this season. I think that’s still in our near future.”

The Blue Demons fell to 12-15 and 4-10 in Big East play. The Blue Demons travel to New Jersey this weekend to take on the Seton Hall Pirates this Saturday but return to Wintrust Arena, where they will host No. 15 UConn Sunday, Feb. 25.

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