No. 23 DePaul Women Advance to Big East Final

No. 23 DePaul Women Advance to Big East Final

Rosemont, IL - The DePaul women's basketball team had last been to the Big East Tournament semi-finals in 2011, losing to Notre Dame. Monday night provided a different opponent and a different outcome.

Jasmine Penny scored a game-high 26 points and Chanise Jenkins added a career-high 23 points as No. 23 DePaul gained its first ever Big East Tournament semi-final win by defeating Marquette 100-90 at Allstate Arena.

Megan Rogowski added 21 points for DePaul, giving the Blue Demons its first game with three 20+ point scorers since 2004.

The 190 combined points fell just shy of the Big East Tournament record of 199 set in 1991 by Providence and Pittsburgh.

Jenkins hit DePaul's first shot of the game- only the second time she has done that all year- a three-pointer to give DePaul a 3-0 lead. Marquette then gained its largest lead of the game at 10-5.

DePaul (26-6) then shot out to a 24-14 lead on the strength of a 19-4 run, scoring 12 of those points in the paint.

"It absolutely was our goal [to establish our inside game]," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "When we played at Marquette we took 45 three-pointers and that is way too many. The whole point of the three-point shot it to open up the floor for players that can drive, which we have, and players that can post up, which we also have on this team."

DePaul shot 6-21 from three-point range and finished with a 48-36 points-in-the-paint advantage.

The Blue Demons' 55-38 halftime lead was its second-highest first half point total this year. Jenkins scored 16 of her points in the half on 6-8 field goal shooting.

DePaul is now 23-3 this year when leading at the half. This was Marquette's second largest half time deficit this year.

"Our style of play is a credit to [coach Bruno]," said Jenkins. "We all have the green light and it is a team full of talented players who love to share the ball and to score. With that balance, anyone can [score] on any given night."

And score efficiently.

Penny had her best field goal percentage this year, shooting 10-11 from the floor, and DePaul shot 50.7 from the field for the game.

Penny, an unemotional player on the floor, showed lots of it post-game as she reflected on what it means to her and her team be playing for the school's first Big East Tournament title: "I am so happy for my team that we made it this far with all the work we put in all this year."

The prior two meetings between these two teams were each decided by six points, so DePaul jumping out to a 71-52 lead on a Rogowski jumper with 12:03 left was, in all probability, not the last word.

A three-pointer by Katherine Plouffe (19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds) and a three-pointer by Brooklyn Pumroy (career-high 21 points) cut DePaul's lead to 71-60 at 9:27.

"I asked our players today who is the only team that has beaten them [in the last 15 games]. They said Marquette, and I said no, we beat ourselves," said Bruno.

That scenario did not happen tonight.

Two consecutive lay ups and a three-point play by Penny gave DePaul an 80-64 lead with 5:41 to play.

Marquette (21-10) answered with a 12-4 run to narrow the lead to 89-80 with 2:00 to play.

Brittany Hrynko scored on a lay up and DePaul made seven free throws the rest of the way.

This was the first time Marquette has given up 100 points since 1995 versus Georgia.

St. John's beat Creighton 68-63 in double overtime in the first semi-final game.

DePaul and St. John's play for the title Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Central on Fox Sports 1.

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