Blue Demons Host West Virginia for Pink Zone Night on Saturday
CHICAGO -- The No. 25/25 DePaul women’s basketball team puts its three-game BIG EAST Conference winning streak on the line when it takes on West Virginia, Saturday at McGrath Arena; tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST). For fans unable to attend the game, Dave Bernhard will call the action live from courtside. Bernhard’s account can be heard on www.depaulbluedemons.com with his pregame show beginning at 6:40 p.m.
Saturday’s game will also serve as DePaul’s Pink Zone game. Pink Zone is the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) global initiative and unified effort from the nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The game will also be dedicated to Kay Yow, the former NC State women’s basketball coach who lost her courageous and two decade long battle with breast cancer last week. All proceeds will benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer fund.
With a three-game winning streak on the line, DePaul will look to BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Keisha Hampton. Hampton is averaging 10.9 ppg along with 4.8 rpg. Against St. John’s, the freshman posted her second career as well as consecutive double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. DePaul’s three game conference winning streak is the longest since the end of the 2005-06 season and through the first league game of the 2006-07 season. The Blue Demons posted seven-straight regular season league wins.
Following Saturday’s game the Blue Demons open the month of February with a 7 p.m. against Georgetown on Wednesday the 4th, before traveling to Notre Dame for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday, Feb. 8. Sunday’s game can be seen live on ESPNU.
Noting the Blue Demons: DePaul is 626-368 (.630) all-time... the 2008-09 campaign is the 35th season of women’s basketball at DePaul University... the Blue Demons have put together at least one 10-game winning streak in four of the last five campaigns... with a record-setting 260 three-pointers in 2007-08, DePaul has made at least 200 three’s in a season in nine straight years... since the start of the 2003-04 season (180 games), the Blue Demons have held 63.3 percent of their opponents to less than 70 points (114-of-180)... in that span, DePaul is 100-14 (.875) when holding opponents to less than 70 points... DePaul has held 15 of its 20 opponents to less than 70 points this season... in the last three-plus seasons, the Blue Demons are 81-36 (.692)... in the last 48 home games against conference opponents, DePaul has posted 39 victories... over the last eight-plus seasons (272 games), DePaul has scored at least 80 points in 100 games... the Blue Demons hold a 95-5 (.950) record in those games... in the same span, DePaul is 42-1, including 40 straight wins, when scoring at least 90 points... with two games in each of its three BIG EAST Tournaments, DePaul is just one of three teams to play in multiple conference tourney games... Connecticut and Pittsburgh have also played at least two games in each of the last three BIG EAST Championships... the Blue Demons are one of 17 programs nationally with six straight NCAA Championship appearances.
Climbing the Mountain: West Virginia is 12-7 and 1-5 in BIG EAST play... recorded first league win against St. John’s a 63-61 victory on Jan. 24... 7-3 in its last 10 games... averages 40.6 rpg... ranks fifth in the BIG EAST with a +6.5 rebounding margin... Liz Repella leads the team with 8.1 rpg, she is second on the team with 15.5 ppg... Takisa Granberry averages a team-high 15.9 ppg and 37 steals... Ashley Powell has dished out a team-high 99 assits.
Series Information: Saturday’s game is the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools... series is tied at two games apiece... DePaul won last season’s thriller 81-80 in front of a WVU Coliseum record 8,307 fans...Deirdre Naughton recorded a 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win for DePaul... last season the two teams also met on Think Pink Day... West Virginia holds a 2-1 BIG EAST Conference record... the team’s met in a nonconference game in 1980 with DePaul scoring a 86-79 victory... WVU win at McGrath Arena ended DePaul’s 58-game streak over unranked opponents with a 74-63 decision on Jan. 9, 2007
Think Pink: Joining NCAA schools and High School’s around the country, DePaul will partner with the WBCA for Think Pink. Think Pink is a global initiative and unified effort from the nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. All proceeds will benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.
In an effort to raise money for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund the Blue Demon cheerleaders and dance team will be selling raffle tickets throughout the game. The raffle prizes include the special Pink Zone Nike game ball as well as Coach Bruno’s game day attire which includes his pink DePaul logo shirt and tie. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 or five for $20. In an effort to surpass last years total, Coach Bruno will donate $1 for every pink shirt in the crowd up to $1,000. Any person who donates to the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer fund will be given a pink DePaul rally towel. There will also be a commemorative “pink t-shirt” toss once during each half.
Hampton Named BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week: Keisha Hampton became the first DePaul player to earn Freshman of the Week honors on Jan. 26. The freshman forward played a key role in DePaul’s 60-58 victory over No. 21/24 Rutgers on Jan. 24. Hampton played a career-high 37 minutes, while scoring 18 points, marking the 13th time this season she has scored in double figures. Hampton also added five rebounds and four assists. She was 5-of-15 from the field and tied her career-high for free throws made and attempted, going 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Joining the Ranks: DePaul joined the Associated Press Top-25 poll on Jan. 26. The Blue Demons had been receiving votes all season but entered the Jan. 26 poll in the number No. 25 position. DePaul also entered the ESPN.com/USA Today in the No. 25 slot on Jan. 27. DePaul had been receiving votes in all but one poll this season.
Hampton ranks with other Freshmen: Entering Tuesday game at St. John’s (Jan. 27) Keisha Hampton was ranked 22nd in scoring among other freshmen. Hampton has 228 career-points. Missouri State’s Cassey Garrison leads all freshmen with 310 points.
Naughton Added to Wooden Watch List: On Jan. 21 Deirdre Naughton was added to the State Farm Wade Trophy Watch list. Naughton is one of 30 athletes selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. Naughton a preseason All-BIG EAST Conference honorable mention selection is currently averaging 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game and already has over 1,000 career points. The junior guard has registered double figures in 69 career games and has led DePaul in scoring nine times this season. A two-time member of the BIG EAST All-Academic Team, Naughton been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this season.
Looking at the Polls: Five BIG EAST women’s basketball teams are currently ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press Poll and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Led by No. 1/1 Connecticut, Louisville stands No. 6 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. Notre Dame sits at No. 13 in coaches’ poll and No. 17 in the AP Poll. Pittsburgh moved up in the AP poll this week to No. 21 and is No. 24 in the ESPN/
BIG EAST Beast: With just about all of the BIG EAST schools having finished their nonconference portion of the schedule, the league holds a record of 170-40 for an .810 winning percentage. DePaul finished it non-conference schedule 12-2. Both losses were on the road, at New Mexico and at Tennessee.
It Could Happen: The game is No. 995 in DePaul women’s basketball history... a 3-pointer would run DePaul’s streak to 128 games with a trifecta... 17 rebounds will put Natasha Williams at 500 career rebounds... Williams needs eight points to reach the 900 career mark (619 at DePaul and 273 at Minnesota)... first four-game conference winning streak this season and first since the Blue Demons closed out the 2005-06 season (six-game from Feb. 8- Feb. 28) and started the 2006-07 league season with a victory over Rutgers to run its conference win streak to seven
Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul’s 59-58 win at St. John’s on Jan. 27
Home Cookin’: Through eight-plus seasons, McGrath Arena - formerly known as the DePaul Athletic Center - has proven itself as one of the toughest venues in the nation. The Blue Demons have posted a 102-18 (.850) record in the arena’s 120 games. DePaul’s .849 winning percentage to enter the 2008-09 season ranked ninth among all active arenas and 11th all-time.
Now in the 35th season of women’s basketball at DePaul University, the Blue Demons have an all-time home court record of 366-102 (.782). Over 26 seasons at Alumni Hall, the women’s basketball program won over 75 percent of its games with a 242-80 all-time record. At the Allstate Arena, the women’s program has posted an all-time record of 22-4.
There have been 15 streaks of at least 10 straight home victories. The longest streak was the 33-game run that started on Dec. 19, 2003 with a 99-63 win over Alabama State and ended on Jan. 28, 2006 with an 84-75 defeat to #5/4 Connecticut. The Blue Demons’ 11-game winning streak dating back to the 2006-07 season ended on Jan. 2 with the 102-68 loss to #3/3 Tennessee.
Over the last six-plus years, the team is 82-10 at home with four losses to teams ranked in the top five. DePaul lost in overtime to #2/2 Tennessee on Dec. 17, 2003, before the Connecticut loss in Jan. 2006. Tennessee, ranked third in both polls, served DePaul its fifth defeat last season on Jan. 2 before the 77-76 loss to #1/1 Connecticut on Mar. 1. Maybe more impressive is that the Blue Demons’ average margin of victory during that span is 23.1 points per game.
The Blue Demons have also posted 79 victories in the last 81 games over unranked opponents. West Virginia ended DePaul’s 58-game streak over unranked opponents with a 74-63 decision on Jan. 9, 2007 before Pittsburgh and Louisville handed the Blue Demons defeats last season. During the 58-game streak, there were 54 victories at McGrath Arena and four wins at the Allstate Arena.
BIG under the Basket with the BLOCKS: DePaul has been big under the net this season and has registered at least four blocked shots in 15 games this season. A year ago, the Blue Demons totaled 125 blocks in 32 games while through just 21 games this season there have been 99 rejections.
Freshman Keisha Hampton leads the team with 25 rejections, while Natasha Williams has 24 and Felicia Chester rounds out the trio with 23. Williams has 117 career blocks while Chester follows with 54.
Season Rejections: DePaul’s current average of 4.7 (99) blocks per game is the third-highest season average. The 1996-97 squad (159 blocks in 29 games) averaged 5.4 blocks, while the 1993-94 team holds the season record with 178 blocked shots in 30 games (5.9 bpg).
Blue Demons Block Braves Buckets: The Blue Demons broke the program’s game record for blocked shots with 14 rejections against Alcorn State on Nov. 16. Seven different players recorded a block led by Felicia Chester’s four. Natasha Williams added three, Keisha Hampton and Deirdre Naughton added two blocks apiece and Rachel Pierson, Holly Medley and Danielle Havel record one rejection each. The previous mark of 13 was set against Southwest Texas State on Nov. 29, 1991.
Taking Advantage from Beyond the Arc: Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the club has knocked down 840 trifectas compared to just 580 for the opposition. With 10 three-pointers at Rutgers on Feb. 27 last season, the team clinched the ninth straight year with at least 200 three-pointers. A 0-for-8 showing against Houston on Feb. 11, 2005, ended DePaul’s streak with a three-pointer at 259 games. At the time, it was the nation’s seventh-longest active streak. Including the Houston game, the Blue Demons have tallied a three-pointer in 385 of the last 386 games. DePaul enters Saturday’s game with Rutgers with a streak of 127 consecutive games with a three-pointer.
Through 21 games in the 2008-09 campaign, the Blue Demons have totaled 116 three’s while the opposition has combined for 100 three-pointers. DePaul’s average of 5.5 three’s per game is below the 7.9 three-point field goal average last season when the Blue Demons tallied a school-record 252 three’s in 32 games.
Streaking: Dating back to last season and in some cases, the last couple of seasons, the Blue Demons have put together various streaks. Listed below are some current active streaks heading into Saturday’s game against Rutgers:
Lights, Camera, Action: The BIG EAST Conference continues to have one of the top television schedules in women’s college basketball on the national, regional and local levels as 98 appearances featuring all 16 BIG EAST schools are on the 2008-09 slate. For the third straight year, every conference team is included in the regular-season broadcasts. The league’s overall exposure continues to grow and this season’s national television package includes: two games on CBS and 14 appearances on ESPN/ESPN2, 31 on ESPNU and 25 on CBSC (CBS College Sports Network).
ESPNU is set to carry the quarterfinals and semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. The finals of the BIG EAST Championship are scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 10 on ESPN.
Against the State: DePaul has seen recent success against opponents from the state of Illinois. Over the last 51 games against Chicago State, Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Illinois State, Loyola-Chicago, Northern Illinois, Northwestern and Southern Illinois, the Blue Demons have posted 50 victories. The 2007-08 schedule saw DePaul knock Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Loyola-Chicago, Northwestern, Northern Illinois and UIC.
DePaul has won 57 of the last 59 games against state opponents and currently holds a 36-game winning streak against Illinois schools. The last loss to a state program was on Dec. 4, 2002, as Illinois defeated the Blue Demons in Champaign by a 71-67 score. During the 56-game stretch, both defeats have occurred at Illinois with the last home loss to an Illinois program on Nov. 20, 1998, against Northwestern. The Wildcats defeated the Blue Demons at Alumni Hall by a score of 62-61.
Tournament Recaps: The Blue Demons opened the 2008-09 campaign with a pair of tournaments for five games in eight days. DePaul went 2-1 in the season-opening Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Classic hosted by New Mexico. DePaul knocked off Idaho State and Alcorn State in the first two days before dropping a 68-66 decision in the final seconds against the host Lobos. Keisha Hampton and Deirdre Naughton were named to the All-Tournament Team.
DePaul won the DePaul Invitational with victories over Southern and Hartford. Duke claimed third place with a consolation game win over Southern while the Blue Demons knocked off Hartford, 80-71, in the championship game. Naughton was named MVP of the tournament while Hampton and Sam Quigley picked up All-Tournament honors.
Naughton Named Honorable Mention Preseason All-BIG EAST: DePaul junior guard Deirdre Naughton was named a preseason honorable mention All-BIG EAST honoree while the Blue Demons were picked by the league’s coaches to finish eighth.
Connecticut Preseason Favorites: Connecticut picked up 14 first-place votes to get the nod as preseason favorite. The Huskies were followed by Rutgers, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh for the top five. Maya Moore of Connecticut was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year and Rutgers’ April Sykes was named the Preseason Freshman of the Year. DePaul was slated to finish eighth.
Marching Along: DePaul has tallied six straight NCAA Championship appearances and 13 appearances overall. The current six-year streak is the longest in program history ahead of DePaul earning four straight berths from 1990-93. That four-year run was followed by three straight appearances from 1995-97. The program is 7-13 all-time in NCAA action and 4-6 since 2003, including the 2006 NCAA Regional Semifinal in San Antonio, Texas. The program is one of 14 schools to play in the postseason in at least 17 of the last 20 years and is just one of 17 programs to play in each of the last six tournaments.