CHICAGO- DePaul's Brittany Hrynko played well in the Blue Demons' two exhibition games and in the…
DePaul Women Advance in Maggie Dixon Classic
"I really respect [Harvard coach] Kathy Delaney-Smith," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "She does a great job, and I was really concerned about this Harvard team. That was a great Harvard team that we made look bad."
Bruno and Delaney-Smith have combined for 1,027 wins at their respective schools, but Delaney-Smith was denied her 496th career win tonight.
Jasmine Penny continued from last year her torrid field goal percentage, shooting 6-7 from the field to lead the Blue Demons with a game-high 17 points.
"I have been working on finishing in practice," said Penny. "That will carry over to the game, which it did tonight."
This game started odd. Harvard won the opening tip, but went to the wrong basket. A turnover then led to DePaul going the other wrong way and scoring. The officials initially credited DePaul's made basket to Harvard, but then reversed the call and awarded the two points to the Blue Demons.
DePaul jumped out to a 12-1 lead.
The Blue Demons' Brandi Harvey-Carr started the game, but picked up her second foul four minutes into the contest. She finished with two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
"I thought it was a good game for the freshmen to get their feet wet," said Bruno. "We saw Brandi Harvey-Carr struggle early and then show some signs of what she might be able to do in the second half."
DePaul had 28 assists on 40 field goals, a statistic that is Bruno's second favorite behind the final score.
"I was pleased with the sharing. There were not too many times where I was saying 'just make the simple pass,' like I have had to say in the past."
Chanise Jenkins led DePaul with four assists.
The Blue Demons got from its other three starters 12 points from Jenkins, 12 points, three assists, and three steals from Brittany Hrynko, and 15 points on 4-8 shooting from behind the arc from Megan Rogowski. But what might make this year's team great is its bench.
DePaul's bench scored 41 points, led by Megan Podkowa's 11 points and five rebounds. Freshman Jessica January (five points and three assists in 14 minutes) picked up two early fouls and sat for much of the first half. Freshman ShaKeya Graves scored eight points and had three assists, including a 12-foot bounce pass to Brooke Schulte (eight points and four rebounds) for a fast break lay up late in the game.
"The style that we play allows us to get multiple players into the game," said Bruno. "The fact that we have multiple players, I think we need to use them and let that be a plus and a positive. ShaKeya is a really good player, she just needs to keep her motor cooking.
"Brooke Schulte did a nice job after she settled down. We can't forget the fact that she has not played for a year [due to a knee injury], and it's always rugged coming back after a year of rehab."
The Crimson (0-1) closed to 36-25 on a layup by Erin McDonnell with 9:13 left in the first half, but Rogowski then reeled off 11 points to boost DePaul's lead to 52-28.
"We started making stops, so we were able to run the floor and I recall Brit [Hrynko] fed me the ball a few times," said Rogowski of her spurt. "We were running the floor and hitting the open person, and I just happened to be open."
Fresh off averaging 113 points in its two exhibition games, DePaul had its biggest lead at 82-51 with 11:59 left in the contest.
McDonnell and AnnMarie Healy led the Crimson with 13 points each. Christine Clark, Harvard's No. 11 all-time scorer and the Ivy League's pre-season Player of the Year, sustained an injury to her left eye in the first half. Clark finished with nine points, with her left eye swollen almost all the way shut by halftime.
DePaul plays Duquesne in the title game on Saturday at 6:00 CST. Wumi Agunbiade led the Dukes with 20 points in their 84-69 win over Cal-Poly in the first game tonight.
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