Hrynko's Runner Wins it for DePaul Women

CHICAGO- The DePaul women's basketball team averages 76.1 points per game, third best in the Big East. On Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, Brittany Hrynko made sure that 57 points were good enough.

Hrynko's runner in the lane with four seconds left gave DePaul (16-5, 5-2 Big East) a 57-55 win over the Panthers.

DePaul has won 11 straight at home.

Pitt, coming into this game having lost six straight and not having won a Big East game since February 15, 2011, surely had memories of how close it came to beating the Blue Demons last year, an 86-83 DePaul win. And for almost forty minutes tonight, those memories must have been good. And then they turned nightmarish.

The Panthers fought back from a seven point deficit with 2:27 left in the game to tie with fifty five seconds left.

DePaul coach Doug Bruno also must have had some nightmares during that final 2:27 as his team missed three free throws during that stretch.

Two free throws by Pitt's Marquel Davis cut DePaul's lead to 55-53 with thirty four seconds left.

Hrynko then moved into the minus column.

She had her pass to Katherine Harry near mid court stolen by Loliya Briggs, who fed Ashlee Anderson for an uncontested lay up to tie the score at 55 with twelve seconds left.

"We always want to get better at the end of the game, and if we knocked some free throws down and played with a little more basketball wisdom, then it was not even a necessity for Brittany to go coast-to-coast to create a highlight shot at the end of the game," Bruno said.

Hrynko then moved into the plus column.

She took the inbounds pass from Harry, drove the length of the court, veered to the right side in the lane and hit an off balance six foot runner off the glass with 4.2 seconds left.

"Coach told us in the huddle that we needed a basket and that he was not going to draw a play up," Hrynko said. "I knew a jump shot was not going to cut it. Going to the basket was my first choice."

Hrynko finished with 19 points and two steals.

Brianna Kiesel's thirty footer with :04 left was high and long off the glass.

DePaul is playing at this point in the season with the Magnificent Seven version 2.0. Hrynko and fellow guard Chanise Jenkins both played forty minutes Tuesday night. Katherine Harry logged 37 minutes.

Harry, third in the Big East in double doubles, recorded another one tonight with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

But more than numbers for Harry tonight was her vocal leadership on the court, something Bruno applauded both vocally and physically after the game.

"The leadership that Katherine demonstrated tonight was huge."

"I was telling [my teammates] that we needed to get one stop on defense and get one rebound," Harry said. "We knew we had to continue to make stops down the stretch and one-and-out them. I was just trying to keep everybody into the game."

Harry's jumper in the first half moved her into 24th place all-time at DePaul in scoring.

"This [win] is going to help us down the stretch that we got out of it alive," said Bruno.

And in the first half, it did not look like DePaul would get out alive.

The Blue Demons, eleventh in the country in assist to turnover ratio at 1:17, had 3 assists and 12 turnovers in the opening half.

DePaul did not score in the final 6:13 of the first half as Pitt scored the final six points to move ahead 25-24 at the break. This was the Blue Demons' third lowest first half point output this year.

But just as the minutes were there for DePaul, so were the numbers.

Chanise Jenkins finished with nine points and six rebounds. Freshman Megan Podkowa, making her second straight start in place of injured Anna Martin, scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds, and had two assists. Kelsey Reynolds added four points, including a key basket in the second half, to go along with three rebounds.

Pitt (9-11, 0-7 Big East) was led by Asia Logan's 15 points.

DePaul travels to Marquette this Saturday for a 7:00 CST tip off.

Notes:

- Katherine Harry needs five rebounds to move into a tie for third place (Mfon Udoka, 1,047 rebounds) all-time at DePaul.

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