DePaul Dials Up a Long-Distance Championship
March 6, 2018
CHICAGO - For a 10-minute span on Tuesday night, it was raining threes in the South Loop.
The Blue Demons lit up Wintrust Arena in the second quarter drilling eight 3-pointers that set the tone for a 98-63 triumph over Marquette and their third BIG EAST Tournament title in the last five years. DePaul (26-7) receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Ashton Millender led the long-distance barrage going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in that definitive period that saw the Blue Demons outscore Marquette 30-12.
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Amarah Coleman topped the scoring parade with a career-high 27 points as all five starters finished in double figures. Ashton Millender had 16 points and six rebounds while Chante Stonewall added 14 points and 11 boards. That was the sophomore's third double-double in the last four games.
All-Tournament selection Mart'e Grays turned in a complete effort with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. All-Tournament guard Kelly Campbell contributed a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists and three steals. Lauren Prochaska had a game-high eight assists.
It was fast and furious from the opening tip with two teams that love to get up and down the court as they entertained a FS1 national TV audience. Sticky defense enabled the Blue Demons to force a couple of early turnovers as Coleman ignited an 8-0 run.
After Allazia Blockton answered with drive in the lane, Tanita Allen's five points and a Stonewall score made it 18-10 at the media timeout with less than three minutes left in the opening quarter.
Back came the Marquette (23-9) as Amani Wilborn sparked a 7-0 burst. Grays answered by scoring the final four points of the quarter to put DePaul in front 22-17.
The home team came out on fire from deep at the outset of the second quarter. Prochaska, Coleman, and Millender (twice) buried threes in a 12-2 surge to secure a 34-21 lead and force Marquette to call timeout. The Blue Demons were 7-of-12 from distance at that point.
They wound up knocking down eight with Grays hitting one and Millender a pair to close out a quarter that had a rowdy Wintrust crowd screaming with every swish. DePaul went into its halftime locker room leading 52-29.
There was no letup after intermission. Threes by Grays, Campbell and Stonewall increased the margin to 71-40 with 3:40 left. Coach Doug Bruno's team had knocked down 14 from distance at that point, three shy of the BIG EAST Tournament record. DePaul finished 16-of-35 and set a tournament mark with 40 threes.
Back-to-back baskets by Campbell made it 83-48 going into the fourth quarter. Both Campbell and Stonewall had double-doubles after three quarters.
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