DePaulWomensHoops.comNCAA Awards Statistical Title to DePaul
May 9, 2018
CHICAGO – A special award is on its way to DePaul paying tribute to one of the cornerstones of the women’s basketball program.
The NCAA notified the athletics department on Tuesday that the Blue Demons had won an NCAA statistical championship after leading the nation in three-pointers per game for the 2017-18 season.
Coach Doug Bruno’s team averaged 12.1 field goals from beyond the arc on its way to a fifth consecutive BIG EAST regular-season title and a third BIG EAST Tournament title in the last five years. DePaul also competed in its 16th-straight NCAA Tournament, advancing to the second round.
Twice last season the Blue Demons connected on a program record 19 three-pointers in a game---against Oklahoma (111-108 overtime win) and versus Seton Hall (89-66 victory). They reached double figures from deep 17 times in the last 20 games.
The final total of 422 three-pointers set a program record as did the 1,159 attempts. Although they compete on vastly different levels, a fun comparison would be the Golden State Warriors. As DePaul averaged 12.1 threes a game, Steph Curry & Co. averaged 11.3 in the regular season.
Leading the way in Lincoln Park was junior sharpshooter Ashton Millender whose 103 long-distance connections is the second-best season mark behind Megan Rogowski’s 114 in 2013-14.
Millender finished the season No. 16 in the nation in three-point field goals, No. 28 in three-point percentage and No. 29 in threes per game.
Bruno gives his players free rein to launch any time they are open, describing it as “the greenest green light in America.”
The liberal policy comes with stipulations. The Blue Demons must always find the open teammate in a precise and timely manner with an attitude of sharing the ball that will result in leading the country in assists. Making the extra pass has almost become second nature.
There’s also the dirty work. As Bruno puts it: “Play tough defense and rebound so you can have a party on the other end.”
To that end, the DePaul coach strives to have five players on the court at all times who are a threat to connect from three-point range.
That almost led to two more NCAA statistical titles as the Blue Demons finished second in the nation in total three-pointers and three-point attempts.
The statistic Bruno cares about the most is assists, and his team was fourth in the country. DePaul was also No. 5 in assist-turnover ratio and No. 6 in scoring offense. Kelly Campbell wound up No. 2 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio and No. 18 in assists.