After a blowout loss at Villanova last Wednesday, Anna Martin knew that she needed a special performance to give the Blue Demons a leg up in their game against the University of South Florida.
Martin was at her best Saturday night, scoring a season-high 35 points en route to a dominant 91-75 victory over the Bulls.
“I played strong defensively against Villanova, but I was nowhere to be found offensively,” said Martin. “[Tonight], I was taking my normal shots and they happened to go in.”
The senior guard’s 35 points were one shy of her career high, and it keyed a superb all-around effort for the Blue Demons. Brittany Hrynko had 22 points and eight assists and Katherine Harry came up big with a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
As good as the offense was for DePaul (13-4, 2-1), the defense may have been even better. The Blue Demons locked down in the first half, holding USF to 26 points. Martin sprinted out of the gates hot, hitting seven of eight shots which gave DePaul an early lead, while the defense swarmed the Bulls and forced tough shots.
Head coach Doug Bruno was impressed with his team’s effort in the first half. He was especially satisfied with the way DePaul used a balance of offense and defense to take over the game.
“I believe the game of basketball is about putting pressure on the opposition on both sides of the ball,” said Bruno. “I thought we did a really good job.”
It wasn’t a totally happy affair for the Blue Demons. Freshman guard Chanise Jenkins went down with an apparent ankle injury midway through the second half. There were also several small scuffles involving DePaul players and USF’s Andrea Smith. As the lead grew for the Blue Demons, the Bulls became more frustrated and Smith got into a couple of shoving matches on loose balls.
As usual, Martin and her teammates kept it under control.
“We just ignored it. We’re there to play, to compete, and all of that was left aside,” said Martin.
Saturday’s win was a resounding victory fresh off of Wednesday’s 65-45 beat down at the hands of Villanova, a game that Bruno said simply shouldn’t happen to a program like DePaul.
“Today was a huge bounce back game,” said Bruno. “We absolutely had to bounce back.”