No. 25 Blue Demons Cut Down Nets, Georgetown in 91-74 Senior Night Triumph
March 4, 2014
CHICAGO – As far as tune-ups go, the one on Tuesday night was turbocharged.
Having already clinched its first BIG EAST Conference regular-season title, No. 25 DePaul sharpened up its game for the upcoming conference tournament with a 91-74 triumph over Georgetown at McGrath-Phillips Arena on Senior Night.
The Blue Demons finished off the regular season with an overall record of 24-6, 15-3 in the BIG EAST. Leading the way against the Hoyas was Megan Rogowski with 21 points and Jasmine Penny with 17 in her final McGrath-Phillips appearance.
Megan Podkowa had 13 points and seven rebounds while Chanise Jenkins added 13 points and five assists. Jessica January also scored 13 points while Kelsey Reynolds had seven in her McGrath-Phillips finale. Brittany Hrynko filled up the stat sheet with five points, five rebounds, 10 assists and a season-high seven steals.
“It’s tough on the players having to play when they’ve already clinched the BIG EAST,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “We wanted to play well like a Top 25 team.
“Jas (Penny) got it going in the second half, and Rogo (Rogowski) was awesome from the floor like she has been all season. We did a lot of things well, but there are some things we’ll clean up moving forward.”
It’s been one celebration after another the last four days. The good times began last Saturday when DePaul clinched the BIG EAST regular-season crown. Two days later, Hrynko was chosen ESPNw.com National Player of the Week.
After Tuesday night’s game, the Blue Demons were presented with the BIG EAST title trophy and then engaged in the traditional cutting down of the nets.
That ceremony was followed by the Blue Demon community honoring seniors Penny, Reynolds and Kelsey Smith who all started against the Hoyas. Emotions were running high as each of the seniors was acknowledged for their invaluable contributions to the women’s basketball program.
“It’s really exciting being the first DePaul team to win a BIG EAST title,” Penny said. “This was one of the goals we had set at the beginning of the season. It was great to play on a team that worked so hard to accomplish that goal.
“Having my family here for Senior Night meant a lot to me. I was really happy my mom came to see me. I can’t believe this is my last game in this arena.”
Penny connected on four consecutive free throws and Podkowa scored on a nice feed from Hrynko for a 58-43 lead early in the second half. Georgetown (10-20, 4-14) came out with a diamond-and-one defense with a Hoya shadowing Rogowski’s every move after the DePaul sharpshooter had scored 16 points in the first half.
Georgetown went on a 15-6 burst in the middle of the second half to draw within 66-60. Back came the Blue Demons with baskets by Reynolds and Hrynko followed by a pair of January free throws that ignited an 18-5 Blue Demon surge.
With less than eight minutes to go, Podkowa hit a pair of free throws and January swished a 3-pointer for an 80-64 lead. Penny’s basket inside and another January jumper culminated the decisive run. Logan Battle led Georgetown with 17 points and Natalie Butler had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Bruno inserted Reynolds and Smith into the starting lineup alongside usual senior starter Penny plus Hrynko and Jenkins.
Seniors scored seven of the first nine Blue Demon points. DePaul’s early nine-point lead was trimmed to four by the middle of the first half.
“When Jas came here, she was kind of quiet,” Bruno said. “As her career progressed, she started showing signs of being a player. When Keisha Hampton went down with an injury, Jas had to step up and become Keisha. Jas and Rogo were a part of that `Magnificent Seven’ that stepped up and won 23 games.”
Georgetown had pulled within 27-25 when Rogowski scored on a bang-bang bounce pass from Hrynko. The Hoyas were again trailing by two when Podkowa scored inside and Reynolds swished a three for a 34-27 advantage.
Less than four minutes to halftime, Jenkins fired one in from behind the arc for a 37-29 lead. After Georgetown crept back within six, Rogowski buried back-to-back threes. DePaul went into halftime ahead 47-36.
DePaul returns to action on Sunday when coach Bruno & Co. will play in the 6 p.m. game of the BIG EAST quarterfinals at Allstate Arena.
Notes: DePaul clinched the BIG EAST Conference regular season title after its win at St. John’s on Saturday… it was the fifth conference title in team history, but the first one in the BIG EAST… the Blue Demons have now won 13 of their past 14 games… DePaul leads the all-time series against Georgetown 10-2, including five straight wins… tonight’s win was the 750th in program history (750-421, 39 seasons)… DePaul reached the 80-point mark for the 19th time in 30 outings… Hrynko’s 10 assists moved her into fourth-place all-time in DePaul single-season history… Rogowski’s five three-pointers gave her 95 on the season, which stands as the second-most in a single-season at DePaul…