DePaulWomensHoops.comBlue Demons Celebrate All-For-One Season
April 11, 2018
CHICAGO – Coach Doug Bruno and his players took some time Tuesday night to reflect upon and celebrate a basketball season epitomized by a relentless all-for-one dynamic.
The 2017-18 Women’s Basketball Awards Banquet at the Erie Café brought together a wide segment of the DePaul athletics community including parents, staff members, the women’s basketball practice team and special guests 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke, his wife Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Ann Burke and their son Travis who was honored for his work with the Blue Demons program.
DePaul Ticket Director Marty Murphy kept the proceedings moving along smartly channeling his inner Jimmy Fallon with humorous analogies and one-liners. Bruno infused the evening with his heartfelt feelings on his players along with administrators championing his cause.
Watching Bradley Bruno’s entertaining and revealing video presentations had you sitting back and realizing just how far this team had come from losing its season opener back on Nov. 10.
After graduating the top three scorers from last year’s team, these Blue Demons came to discover first-hand that time-honored adage of strength in numbers. There was a palpable chemistry that grew stronger as the season played out, and the video highlights showed time and again players making the extra pass even after a seamless sequence of sharing the rock.
DePaul’s overall balance was daunting. For a good part of the season, six players averaged in double figures. There were nine games when six Blue Demons scored in double figures.
Their offensive collaboration made their playbook come alive as they finished No. 4 in the entire country in assists. The final total of 724 was the second-best mark in program history behind the 746 assists by the 2015-16 NCAA Sweet 16 team.
This was a team that could space the floor and bury an opponent under an avalanche of three-pointers. Led by Ashton Millender, the Blue Demons tied their program record with 19 threes against Oklahoma and Seton Hall.
They lit up the BIG EAST Tournament with a record 40 three-pointers including eight in the second quarter of a 98-63 title-game triumph over a very talented Marquette team. They were a sizzling 12-of-24 from beyond the arc in their 90-79 victory over Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament opener.
The NCAA’s final statistics showed DePaul leading the nation in three-pointers per game and second in total three-pointers and three-point attempts. That resulted in the No. 6 scoring offense in Division I.
The Blue Demons’ 422 three-pointers were the most in the program’s 44-year history, and they also set a program best with 1,159 long-distance attempts. Millender’s 103 connections from deep was No. 2 all-time to Megan Rogowski’s 114 in the 2013-14 season. It was a remarkable comeback for Millender who was sidelined by injury for the final 26 games last year.
Beyond the flashy numbers, this season was defined by some moments of pure hoops magic. There was Kelly Campbell finishing just one assist shy of becoming the first player in BIG EAST history to record back-to-back triple-doubles.
The do-everything sophomore guard finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for her first career triple-double in an 89-66 win over Seton Hall on Dec. 28. Two days later, Campbell stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 76-67 victory over St. John’s.
Seared into the memory banks was Amarah Coleman’s game-winning three-pointer just before the McGrath-Phillips Arena overtime buzzer for a rousing 111-108 victory that brought down the house on Nov. 13.
After playing a sluggish first half and trailing by four in Evanston, Bruno’s team rocked Northwestern with a record-setting 41 points in the third quarter en route to a 92-63 comeback win. DePaul made 15-of-20 shots in that 10-minute period (6-of-9 from deep) as Campbell scored 16 points and Chante Stonewall 10.
Bruno made some history in an historic setting by winning the 700th game of his career on Feb. 9 at Butler at the Hinkle Field House, “Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral,” where the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed.
DePaul, which finished with a record of 27-8, battled national champion Notre Dame to a standstill for three quarters before finally coming up short 91-82 on the road.
Coleman put the exclamation point on her team’s dominant BIG EAST Tournament performance with a career-high 27 points in the title game and was named Most Outstanding Player. The Blue Demons beat three tournament opponents by an average of 31 points a game and set a title-game record with those 98 points.
After missing the entire 2016-17 season with a torn Achilles tendon, Mart’e Grays came back with a purpose and was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team along with Campbell. Lauren Prochaska was honored with the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.
This was a team that never lost more than one in a row whose level of sustained excellence resulted in a fifth consecutive BIG EAST regular-season title, the third BIG EAST Tournament crown in the last five years and the 16th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Here are the team awards that were presented on Tuesday night.
Season Achievement Awards