Feb. 28, 2011
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2011 BIG EAST Championship Bracket
CHICAGO (AP) -- Felicia Chester was positioned under the basket and suddenly had the ball in her hands with 5 seconds left and her team trailing.
And the DePaul senior found a way to get the Blue Demons the win.
Chester received Taylor Pikes' pass and put up a layup and DePaul (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) stunned Notre Dame (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) 70-69 on Monday.
"I'm not sure what happened, I think I might have fallen on the floor and stood up and the ball was there," said Chester, who scored a game-high 20 points. "I was in shock when it went in."
The Blue Demons (26-5, 13-3 BIG EAST) tied the Irish for second place, their best finish in Big East play. They also earned the No. 2 overall seed in this week's conference tournament.
But Notre Dame (24-6, 13-3 BIG EAST) wasn't quite finished. Skylar Diggins, who had a team-high 18 points, drove the lane for her own game-winning try, only to have the ball stripped away as time expired.
"We were out of timeouts and had 5 seconds -- which was plenty of time," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "Natalie [Novosel] chose to give it to Skylar, which was fine, and she tried to dribble through a crowd and we weren't going to get a call."
Chester scored 16 points in the second half as DePaul rallied from a nine-point deficit for a lead with 1:57 to play following Keisha Hampton's layup.
Diggins hit two free throws with 1:49 to go, and Novosel followed with a 3-pointer as Notre Dame pulled to 66-65. Pikes restored a three-point lead with 59 seconds to play, but Diggins' layup closed the gap to 68-67.
Brittany Mallory got a steal and passed to Devereaux Peters for a layup to give Notre Dame a 69-68 lead 28 with seconds left.
On the final possession, Chester was knocked down under the basket but got up in time to take Pikes' pass.
DePaul used a tiebreaking 11-2 run as Pikes hit a pair of 3-pointers and Sam Quigley scored for a 20-11 lead with 10:59 left in the first half.
Just 3½ minutes later, the Irish had sliced the deficit to 22-19 after Novosel's steal and layup. The Blue Demons used a late 8-2 run to open a 32-24 lead in the final minute of the half.
DePaul outscored Notre Dame 18-11 off turnovers on the way to a 32-26 halftime lead.
"At the end of the first half we got foolish with the ball and I thought we would have had a 12-or 13-point lead at halftime," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "We came out in the second half and Notre Dame really took it to us. We had no answers offensively and we were in a state of temporary chaos."
The Irish turned the tables early in the second half with a 9-2 run.
DePaul's third turnover of the second half allowed Notre Dame to take its first lead since the opening minutes on Becca Bruszewski's hook shot at 18:02.
DePaul retook the lead at 36-35 on Chester's hook shot with 16:27 left, but Diggins gave Notre Dame a lead again seconds later with a bank off the glass.
Hampton added 17 points for the Blue Demons while Novosel also had 17 for Notre Dame.
As the No. 2 seed, DePaul received a bye to the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship and will play Sunday evening at 5 p.m. (CST). The quarterfinals as well as the semifinals will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Notes: This season DePaul is now 5-0 against Top 25 opponents at McGrath-Phillips Arena... 11-12 all-time against Top 25 opponents on its home court since the 2000-01 season... this season, the Blue Demons topped then-No. 3/2 Stanford, 91-71, #8/8 West Virginia, #21/22 Marquette, and #18/18 Georgetown and #7/7 Notre Dame... in games that DePaul has won over a ranked opponents at McGrath-Phillips Arena the Blue Demons average margin of victory was 14.5 points… third perfect season at McGrath-Phillips Arena... they finished with a 17-0 record... DePaul went 13-0 in 2002-03 and 14-0 in 2004-05… DePaul has won its last 19 games at McGrath Arena which dates back to its Feb. 23, 2010 win over Pittsburgh... improves to 135-21 (.865) all-time at McGrath Arena... during DePaul’s 19-game winning streak, the Blue Demons’ average margin of victory is 19.1.. . DePaul’s 13-3 BIG EAST record is its best since it joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06... 13 wins is the most conference wins since the 1995-96 and 2004-05 both went 13-1 in Conference USA. DePaul finished the regular season in a tie for second place... highest finish since joining the BIG EAST... previous best was a tie for 3rd in 2005-06… Felicia Chester finished the night leading the Blue Demons with 20 points... second time this season she scored 20 or more in a game and the third time of her career… Blue Demons are now 20-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season… Skylar Diggins led four Notre Dame in double-figures with 18 points... Irish outscored DePaul 38-28 in the paint… Notre Dame is the No. 3 seed in the BIG EAST Championship series… the DePaul win, snaps Notre Dame’s four-game series winning streak... DePaul’s last win dated back to January 22, 2008 at Notre Dame, 81-80... The Blue Demons still lead the all-time series 19-15 and are 11-6 in games played in Lincoln Park.