Martin breaks record, leads women’s basketball past USF in Big East tournament

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HARTFORD, CONN.— DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno is never a man to hold stories or analogies back.

On Saturday afternoon after DePaul’s 76-62 Big East tournament second round victory over South Florida at the XL Center in Hartford, the Blue Demons head coach had a couple more to share.

This time, it was about Anna Martin. The junior, who set a DePaul record for most points in a Big East tournament game with 33, also added seven rebounds and six assists.

Bruno made a fitting analogy for a player from the state of Kentucky.

“She’s our horse, we as coaches are just the trainer on the side or [the jockey] on top,” Bruno said about Martin, who has scored 69 points on nearly 73 percent shooting in her last two games and scored a career-high 36 points in the regular season finale against Cincinnati.

The Blue Demons (22-9) started the game on an 11-0 run and despite a hard-charging Bulls team, only trailed twice during the game. The victory was certainly retribution for DePaul’s 66-63 overtime loss to USF on Jan. 17.

Martin was very simple in answering why she’s been so successful.

“I just try to stay aggressive and fortunately my shots happen to be going in right now,” Martin said.

Martin was far from the only Blue Demon player responsible for the victory. Katherine Harry finished with eight points and 12 rebounds, which also tied the record for most rebounds by a DePaul player in a single Big East tournament game. DePaul as a whole shot nearly 53 percent (29-of-55) from the field.

“DePaul is a very good basketball team and they had a kid that had a really special night tonight in Anna Martin,” USF head coach Jose Fernandez said. “I have to hand it to them, they shot a big number and they made shots.”

Jasmine Penny was the only other DePaul player in double-figure scoring with 15 points, and she also pulled down eight rebounds.

The part of the game that has to concern DePaul most is the turnovers. The Blue Demons had 21 which led to 19 USF points. That number will have to come down significantly, especially when going against the top-seeded team in the Big East tournament in Notre Dame. The Irish have the third-best scoring defense in the Big East and ninth in the country (51.9 points per game).

“There’s not much we can do,” Bruno said when asked about what they will do between Saturday night and Sunday’s game against the Irish. “They will have dinner by 10 p.m. Everything else will be between the ears.”

DePaul fell to the Irish in South Bend on Feb. 5 by a score of 90-70. Notre Dame also got the better of DePaul last season in the Big East tournament semifinals, winning 71-67.

So the Blue Demons have a short time to think about a year’s worth of revenge to get on their next opponent.