The DePaul women’s basketball team finally heard their named called Monday night, roughly midway through the one-hour NCAA Tournament selection announcement.
The No. 10 seed Blue Demons (21-11, 9-7 Big East) face No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (21-10, 9-9 Big 12) in the Norfolk Regional at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, this Sunday. The game starts 30 minutes after the completion of the Duke/Hampton game, which tips off at 12:05 CST. Both games can be seen on ESPN2.
"This team earning its way into the tournament, I'm very proud of this group," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "It never gets old. It's never easy, and with this group, they overcame so much adversity this year. I'm just really proud that they're here."
This is DePaul’s 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
“You never want to let a streak like this end because it shows the tradition and excellence of our program,” said senior Katherine Harry.
Oklahoma State lost to No. 1 Baylor, 77-69, in this year’s Big 12 Tournament semifinals. The Cowgirls captured the WNIT title last year.
DePaul and Oklahoma State have faced each other once previously in NCAA Tournament play, an 81-80 Cowgirls’ win in the first round in 1991.
And while both teams featured balanced attacks, what stands out at first glance is four on four.
DePaul features Second Team All-Big East selections Anna Martin (15.7 ppg) and Harry (8.8 ppg and 10.5 rpg), First Team All-Big East Brittany Hrynko (14.8 ppg and 4.9 apg), and Freshman All-Big East Chanise Jenkins (8.1 ppg and 4.1 apg).
The Cowgirls counter with First Team All-Big 12 senior forward Toni Young (15.9 ppg and 10.1 rpg), Second Team All-Big 12 guard Tiffany Bias (12.1 ppg and 7.0 apg), Honorable Mention All-Big 12 forward Liz Donohue (15.0 ppg), and Freshman All-Big 12 guard Brittney Martin (10.1 ppg).
Oklahoma State shoots 44 percent from the floor, 34 percent from behind the arc, and 77 percent from the free throw line. The Cowgirls outrebound their opponents by a margin of 41.3 to 33.9 per game.
DePaul shoots 41 percent from the floor, 30 percent from behind the arc, and 69 percent from the free throw line. The Blue Demons have been outrebounded by their opponents by a margin of 41.8 to 39.7 per game.
“We have played some good games this year, but we have not played consistently all year long,” said Bruno. “I still think we have a lot of getting better to do.”
The Blue Demons beat Brigham Young in the first round of last year’s Tournament and lost to Tennessee in the second round. Hrynko and Jenkins both hope to apply what they learned both on the floor and from the bench in those games to this Sunday’s match up.
“Last year I had a lot of unforced turnovers,” said Hrynko. “Getting the experience in the Brigham Young and Tennessee games and taking that with me into this year’s Tournament is what I hope to do.”
Jenkins sat out last year with a foot injury.
“Last year gave me insight into what is going to be coming and what to expect,” she said. “So hopefully what I learned last year as a sideline coach and as a player transfers over to this year.”
Martin summed up the team’s feelings after seeing DePaul come up on the board.
“With the past two years and the adversity that we have had, it is almost like a reward to see your name come up.”
She, too, takes something away from the loss to Tennessee.
“[Our team] was talking about the Tennessee game today. It all came down to a few possessions.”
The possessions begin again this Sunday.
- The Big East led all conferences with eight teams selected for the Tournament.