Nov. 3, 2012
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Box Score: DePaul 105, Illinois Wesleyan 68
CHICAGO - Judging by the final preseason game, No. 25 DePaul is ready to play for real.
Tuning up their explosive transition attack, the Blue Demons blew away last season's NCAA Division III national champion Illinois Wesleyan 105-68 Saturday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
"We're definitely ready for the real season," said Kelsey Reynolds who led DePaul with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. "This game showed how much we improved from last Tuesday's game against St. Xavier."
Brittany Hrynko had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists against Illinois Wesleyan while Jasmine Penny and Brandi Harvey-Carr each chipped in 13 points and Katherine Harry added 11.
DePaul handed out 32 assists on its 40 baskets.
"That's what we're all about," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "Some teams want to lead the nation in points. We want to lead the nation in assists.
"We were No. 17 last year and a lot of programs would love that. We want to be in the top five."
Bruno noticed a marked improvement in his ballclub from last Tuesday's win over St. Xavier.
"I'm thrilled to have Chanise Jenkins (seven points, six assists) back from last year's season-ending injury," Bruno said. "She is one of the top point guards I've ever been around. Now, we have two really talented point guards in Chanise and Brittany.
"Kelsey made shots tonight and did a lot of good things between the touches."
The pace was fast and furious from the opening tip as DePaul scored the first 12 points with Hrynko scoring eight in a row including back-to-back three-pointers.
After Illinois Wesleyan pulled within six, the Blue Demons took off on a 16-0 run in the middle of the first half.
The dominant start afforded Bruno the luxury of going to his bench early. The assistant coach on the USA gold medal Olympic team could assess his personnel---especially the freshmen---in advance of the regular season opener.
In the latter part of the first half, Bruno went with a lineup of dual point guards Hrynko and Jenkins and the rookie trio of the 6-foot, 4-inch Harvey-Carr, 6-2 Megan Podkowa and guard Brooke Schulte.
That group built a 41-15 lead with less than eight minutes to go in the half. Harvey-Carr exhibited her strength inside while Podkowa displayed a versatile all-around game.
Near the end of the half, Harry made a hustle-dive for a loose ball before unleashing an over-the-shoulder backwards pass while lying on the court that resulted in another transition score.
DePaul headed to its locker room at halftime with a 55-25 lead.
"I was making shots tonight," Reynolds said. "I owe it to my teammates who got me the ball."
Matching their first-half intensity, the Blue Demons went ahead 75-34 with more than 13 minutes left in the second half after a Reynolds three-pointer and a Hrynko steal and layup.
"This game gave me a lot of excitement in that we have so many weapons," Bruno said. "I can see improvement from every single player."
DePaul opens the regular season against Nicholls State at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Maggie Dixon Classic at McGrath-Phillips Arena.