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Three in Double-Figures Push DePaul Past Northern Illinois
Chanise Jenkins scored a career-high 14 points in DePaul's 68-46 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Chanise Jenkins scored a career-high 14 points in DePaul's 68-46 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Dec. 15, 2012


Box Score: DePaul 68, Northern Illinois 46
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CHICAGO – If nothing else, DePaul was going to come out and defend its home court like never before.

Playing the kind of defense coach Doug Bruno had emphasized all week, the Blue Demons shut down Northern Illinois 68-46 Saturday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The 46 points was the fewest points scored against DePaul this season. The Blue Demon defense limited NIU to a 27.3 shooting percentage---lowest of the season---as the Huskies scored just 18 points in the first half. That tied the fewest points given up in a half this season.

Jasmine Penny headed up the offense with 20 points while Anna Martin added 15 points and Chanise Jenkins scored a career-high 14 points going 4-for-6 from three-point range.

Kelsey Smith had her best game as a Blue Demon with eight points and a career-high nine rebounds. She combined with Katherine Harry to produce 23 rebounds from the center position.

DePaul improved to 8-3 on the season while Northern Illinois fell to 3-5.

“We’re good at scoring,” Martin said. “We knew we had to get better defensively. When we do that, we can be really good. Tonight is a start.”

A 9-2 run early in the second half highlighted by Jenkins’ third three-pointer of the game lifted the Blue Demons to a 37-22 advantage. A Smith basket in the middle of the second half upped the lead to 47-30.

Steadily increasing that margin, DePaul went ahead 53-33 with less than eight minutes to go after scores by Brittany Hrynko, Martin and Smith.

“Northern Illinois forces you to grind out the game,” Bruno said. “It took a long time to get control of the game.

“I asked our team to try and hold them to 33 percent field-goal percentage, and I’m pleased about that. Chanise and Anna did a good job of getting that going.

“Chanise has been a steadying influence since she’s been back from last year’s injury. It’s great to have Anna back, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to coach such a talented player. She’s fighting back from some injuries, and you’re starting to see the old Anna.

“And to balance off our offense, Jasmine did a good job finding openings in the low post.”

Bruno had emphasized defensive fundamentals after last Tuesday’s 94-83 victory over Milwaukee.

Determined to handcuff the NIU attack, DePaul limited the Huskies to four points in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Whatever defensive shortcomings Bruno had detected earlier in the week were gone. The visitors could only convert 18 percent of their shots in that span.

Uncharacteristic of a team averaging more than 75 points a game, DePaul got off to a sluggish start offensively. Midway through the first half, the Blue Demons had made just four of their first 14 shots. They didn’t hit their first three-pointer until Jenkins converted four minutes, 34 seconds before halftime.

“We got off to a slow start making crazy passes and poor decisions on offense,” Jenkins said. “I had not shot the ball well the last few games, but my teammates never gave up on me. They kept passing me the ball.

“After that first three-pointer went in, I thought I might be in a rhythm.”

Martin followed up with her first trifecta for a 23-14 DePaul lead. NIU had come within 23-18 when Penny cashed in on a pair of free throws and Jenkins buried a shot-clock beating three-pointer in providing a 28-18 lead at halftime.

Next up for DePaul is a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday against North Side rival Loyola.

Notes: DePaul won its 17th straight game against an opponent from the state of Illinois… DePaul held NIU scoreless for the first 3:31 of the contest and went on a 12-4 run to begin the game, spanning the first 7:24… the Blue Demons won their 154th game at McGrath-Phillips Arena, improving to 154-24 all-time in the venue… DePaul is now 124-6 in its past 130 games against unranked opponents at home... DePaul extended its streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 104... Chanise Jenkins hit the Blue Demons’ first triple of the night with 4:44 remaining in the first period... The Blue Demons held NIU to 18 first half points, which tied a season-low for DePaul opponents. DPU also held Howard to 18 first half points on November 17... The Huskies shot just 27.3 percent for the game (15-of-55), which was the lowest field goal percentage the Blue Demons have limited an opponent to this season. The 46 points also represented a season-low for an opponent... The last time the Blue Demons held an opponent to 46 points or lower was December 31, 2011 against Northern Illinois... Katherine Harry finished with nine rebounds in the first half and reached double-digit boards (11) for the sixth time this season and 35th time in her career... Freshman Chanise Jenkins set career-highs with four three-pointers and 14 points. Her previous high was a 12-point effort on Nov. 22 against FGCU... Junior Kelsey Smith set a career-high with nine rebounds... Jasmine Penny reached the 20-point plateau for the second time in as many games and for the sixth time in her career... DePaul improves to 8-3 overall on the season. Northern Illinois drops to 3-5 with its second-straight loss…The all-time series between the two schools is now 34-7 in favor of DePaul. The Blue Demons have won 19 straight in the series dating back to 1994... DePaul improves to 56-12 overall against the current MAC lineup.