Nov. 1, 2013
Box Score: DePaul 124, Illinois Wesleyan 56 | Video Highlights
CHICAGO – There wasn’t an ounce of complacency or a shred of overconfidence in the Blue Demons Friday night.
Coach Doug Bruno instilled something in his team that had DePaul racing to a 124-56 victory over Illinois Wesleyan at McGrath-Phillips Arena in its final exhibition game.
Jasmine Penny finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Megan Rogowski scored 22 points, mostly from long range, and added six rebounds.
Jessica January made her first seven shots and wound up with 21 points and four assists. The freshman guard didn’t miss until there were six minutes left in the game. Brittany Hrynko contributed 11 points, six assists and four steals while Kelsey Reynolds added nine points, eight rebounds and five assists. Chanise Jenkins had nine points, six assists and four steals.
Coming off the heels of a 101-59 triumph over St. Xavier just three days earlier, would the Blue Demons take the visiting Titans for granted?
Well, that simply isn’t the Doug Bruno way. He makes sure his players strive to perform up to a lofty standard no matter the competition.
And he sweetened the motivational pot by offering a day off from practice in exchange for a worthy performance.
No wonder DePaul led by 38 points late in the first half and went into intermission with a 69-31 advantage. Bruno’s team forced 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes that turned into 27 points.
“I thought our players came out with great energy to start the game,” Bruno said. “They did an impressive job of forcing me to take the pressure off after five minutes.
“It was a great night of looking at different possibilities lineup-wise.”
Baskets by Penny and Hrynko early in the second half boosted the Blue Demon lead to 44 points. With less than minutes to go, the lead was 65, and DePaul wound up forcing 33 turnovers.
Unlike the last time these Blue Demons played on their home court, there was no feeling-out process against the Titans who won the NCAA Division III national title in 2012.
Sparked by Hrynko, Penny and Rogowski and with 6-foot, 4-inch freshman Brandi Harvey-Carr making her first start, DePaul streaked out to a 29-4 lead in the first five minutes.
Forcing 11 turnovers in that span which helped create layups and wide-open shots, DePaul shot a torrid 76 percent---making 13 of its first 17 shots.
“Every day, we say we’re facing the best team in America,” Rogowski said. “It’s important to have that mindset. Coach always pushed us, too.
“Tonight we came out and wanted to prove to coach that we have that mindset.”
Like a line change at a Blackhawks game, Bruno brought in five new players and they never missed a beat. Megan Podkowa ripped down rebounds and fired accurate outlet passes to January and ShaKeya Graves as they released on fly patterns.
Illinois Wesleyan would get one shot and it was off to the races. January scored eight points in a row to provide a 40-9 cushion with more than 10 minutes left in the first half.
DePaul opens the regular season Nov. 8 against Harvard in the Maggie Dixon Classic that tips off at 7:30 p.m. in McGrath-Phillips Arena.