Martin, Harry celebrate final home game at DePaul with win on Senior Night

For a number of reasons, Tuesday night’s matchup against Georgetown was a must-win game for the women’s basketball team.

Not only is DePaul (19-9, 8-6 Big East) in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament berth, its seniors, Anna Martin and Katherine Harry, sought to close out their successful careers at home on a high note.

They got it, and rather comfortably.

The Blue Demons triumphed over an erratic, hapless Hoyas team, 75-55, giving seniors Anna Martin and Katherine Harry a pleasant final memory within the confines of McGrath-Phillips Arena, Feb. 27.

“Tonight was more of a kickoff,” said head coach Doug Bruno. “I just really feel that our team and these seniors still have so much more basketball to play, so many more things to prove.”

DePaul finishes its regular season with two games on the road: Pittsburgh (March 2) and St. John’s (March 4), both of which are precursors to the Big East Tournament in Hartford, Conn. and, should they be rewarded, the NCAA Tournament.

Against Georgetown (14-13, 5-9 Big East), DePaul’s main focus was on containing senior guard Sugar Rodgers, the fifth-leading scorer in Division I basketball with 22.5 points per game. Brittany Hrynko held Rodgers to 17 points (6-15 FG), effectively voiding Georgetown’s chances of making the contest even remotely competitive. Hrynko finished with 14 points and seven assists.

“I thought our team did a good job of following the gameplan,” said Bruno. “Britt Hrynko did a great job on Sugar (Rodgers) – she came out of this game with 17 points, but I thought they were hard-earned.”

Bruno also commended the efforts of guards Chanise Jenkins and Kelsey Reynolds defending Rodgers, who hedged hard on screens to cut off lanes for the Hoya guard, and trapped at half court on unfolding offensive possessions.

DePaul’s Megan Rogowski had a fine offensive game, leading all scorers with 21 points (8-14 FG, 3-8 3FG) and five rebounds. Rogowski had perhaps her most aggressive outing as a Blue Demon, converting five baskets from in or near the paint, including three straight layups to kick off the second half.

A 20-9 run that ended near the 9-minute mark pushed DePaul to a 55-35 lead, an advantage that held all the way to the final buzzer.

Martin and Harry on the past, present and future

As seniors Martin and Harry – joined by their families – were congratulated by their teammates, coaches and other DePaul officials following their game against Georgetown, fans in attendance were offered one last look at two players who have become synonymous with the program’s tradition of hard work, passion and success.

In a span of four short years, Martin and Harry went from newcomer freshmen eager to contribute their talents to weathered senior veterans, leaders on and off the court. Their college careers were, upon immediate consideration, a blur, especially to the head coach that has watched them grow as players and people.

“It’s never easy (to say goodbye). That’s what’s so interestingly difficult about the coaching that we do,” said Bruno. “Four years is a nanosecond. Once you’re out of school, you realize, ‘Boy, did that go fast.'”

Set to embark on the tail end of their regular season schedule and postseason slate, Martin and Harry were nevertheless afforded some time to reflect on their careers after defeating Georgetown.

On Martin’s tenure at DePaul, she simply described it as “unforgettable.”

“This is a chapter in my life where I really grew as a person – on the court, academically and in all areas,” said Martin. “I met some of my best friends and some people who I’m going to want to have in my life forever.”

Martin, who returned to the starting lineup after sitting out since Jan. 19 due to injury, said it “felt good” to be back out on the court. Despite wearing a knee brace more suitable for an NFL linebacker, Martin scored 10 points in 22 minutes of action.

“I was just ready to be back and contributing,” said Martin. “I knew I wasn’t gonna feel like my old self, so I just had to be mature, be patient about it.”

Harry, the Big East’s leading rebounder, was a constant presence and leader for the Blue Demons this season. Games in which players can showcase their unique abilities – such as Harry’s against the Hoyas in which she grabbed 14 rebounds along with six points – can often lead them to take what comes natural for granted.

However, Harry is well-aware of how fortunate she has been to play the game of basketball, and made certain to express her gratitude for all it has brought her.

“I’ve been afforded a lot of great opportunities through basketball and I can’t put into words how thankful I am that I’ve been able to do so much through basketball,” said Harry. “I can’t wait to share those experiences with my family in the future and look back at all of the good times we did have.”

For now, the two players’ families have plenty to be proud of, and were able to share memories and meaningful experiences afterwards in a special ceremony held at DePaul’s Student Center after the game.

“It was just awesome to be able to have my family here and support me the past four years,” said Martin. “They are like my support system and my foundation – I wouldn’t want to replace these moments.”

Harry was just as thankful, especially because she was not expecting her father, brother and older sister to be in attendance due to a delayed flight. Fortunately, they were able to show up to the arena just minutes before halftime.

“I saw them in the crowd and kind of got teared up right before halftime. I was like ‘Okay, keep it together,’ said Harry. “But it’s just special to be able to share that moment with them. I’ve been able to share a lot of games with my mom and just to have everybody here when I didn’t think they would be here was really nice.”

Bruno, who admitted getting emotional having to bid farewell to his seniors, praised Harry and Martin for all that they have done for the program. Spending more time with the tandem than with his own family was simply “a fact” of coaching, which yielded a distinct perspective on how they have matured.

“Katherine and Anna came here together- they’re like sisters,” said Bruno. “They’re great human beings, they’re very talented basketball players. These seniors are both really special people.”