DePaul Hosts Louisville
DePaul (14-9, 7-3) vs. Louisville (15-9, 7-4)
Click here for internet audio.
Back to the DAC
Friday night marks the 17th meeting between the Blue Demons and Cardinals with Louisville leading the series, 9-7. Louisville owns a 15-9 overall record while posting a 7-4 C-USA mark. In their last meeting, DePaul knocked off the top-seeded Cardinals, 78-57, in the 2001 C-USA Tournament.
Next weekend, DePaul wraps up regular season at TCU and Houston. The TCU contest will be televised live on Fox Sports Net Chicago as part of the C-USA TV Network. The first weekend of March will be busy at the DePaul Athletic Center as the 2002 C-USA Women's Basketball Tournament takes place.
Down the Stretch
With TCU winning both games against Houston, they own the tiebraker as does DePaul over Marquette. Cincinnati and Louisville still have one game left against each other. In the C-USA Tournament history, no team seeded less than third has ever won the league tournament.
Nothing But the Best
In their three top seven defeats to Iowa State, Purdue and Tennessee, the Blue Demons lost by an average margin of just 6.7 points per game. DePaul dropped a 79-75 decision at No. 6 Iowa State on Nov. 21. In the span of three days in December, the Blue Demons lost, 63-61, to No. 7 Purdue and 80-66, to No. 2 Tennessee.
Looking at the Blue Demons
The Louisville Series
The Cardinals enter the game at 15-9 overall and 7-4 in Conference USA action. Last weekend they posted victories over Memphis and Saint Louis. Head coach Martin Clapp is in his fifth season with Louisville and owns a 91-55 mark with the Cardinals. A year ago, he led the team to the C-USA regular season championship and a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
Marju Sober leads the team with 12.2 points per game and 45 three-pointers. Sarah Nord is leading the nation with 8.3 assists per game to go along with 9.2 points per contest.
Last Time Out
The game started with a pair of Jamie Smith jumpers to give DePaul the early 4-0 lead. Charlotte came back to take an 8-6 advantage on a Peaches Harris jumper before a Sarah Kustok three put the Blue Demons up 10-8 with just over 15 minutes left in the first half.
Following another Kustok jumper, the 49ers reeled off a 16-0 run to take a 29-12 lead with five minutes left in the first stanza. DePaul proceeded to cut into the lead and trailed, 42-28, at halftime. The Blue Demons struggled in the first half as they shot a combined .385 from the field with leading scorer Lenae Williams making only two free throws for two points.
DePaul outscored the 49ers, 35-33, in the second period, but the first half deficit was too large to overcome. With 10:42 remaining in the game, Claudette Towers knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the Charlotte lead to nine. From there, DePaul would get as close as four points with 7:32 left, but Charlotte answered and extended the advantage to 10 with just under two minutes left in the game. Down the stretch, the 49ers nailed six free throws to seal the win.
Jenni Dant led four players in double-figures with 14 points while Kustok and Williams chipped in 12 points apiece. Smith added 10 points and team-high's of six rebounds and five blocked shots. As a team, the Blue Demons were 3-of-14 from three-point range while being outrebounded, 36-31.
Lenae Williams Picks Up C-USA Honor....Again
Earlier this year, she earned Co-Player of the Week honors after leading DePaul to three wins over Northwestern, Loyola-Chicago and Toledo. The Addison, Ill., native, averaged 28 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game in those three contests. Houston's Chandi Jones joined Williams in the league's weekly honor.
This marks the fourth time in her career that Williams has earned the league's weekly honor. She is just one of three players in DePaul history to win the Conference USA honor multiple times in her career. Former All-Americans Kim Williams and Latasha Byears was also named Player of the Week more than once. Kim Williams, no relation to Lenae, was a four-time winner while Byears was picked three times.
Taking Advantage From Beyond the Arc
Individually, Lenae Williams has nearly as many three's with 69 as all Blue Demon opponents combined. The DePaul defense is holding opponents to a .271 (74-273) overall mark from behind the arc.
Williams is currently eighth in NCAA history with 306 career treys. Of the top 25 all-time, Williams is the only player taller than 5'10". With at least five games left in the season, she would need to average 2.4 treys per game to finish her career third in NCAA history.
Strength of Schedule
The current top 25's have a DePaul flavor as five opponents from the latest AP and USA Today/ESPN polls are featured. A total of nine opponents are either ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll or receiving votes for the top 25. DePaul has received votes for either poll in 14 of the 15 polls this season.
Making Some National Noise
Williams' 41-point outburst at No. 6 Iowa State on Nov. 21 is tied for the fourth spot on the single-game high chart this season with George Mason's Laura Kooij and Tennessee Tech's Janet Holt. Her 39-point total against Illinois on Dec. 4 is the seventh-highest total this season along with Austin Peay's Brooke Armistead and Mississippi State's Latoya Thomas. Williams and Thomas are the only two players with at least 39 points in two games this season.
Her eight three's at Iowa State is tied for the nation's single-game high with seven other players. She is also tied for eighth in the country with 3.0 three-pointers per game. She has dropped in 69 in DePaul's 23 games this season.
As a team, the Blue Demons are ninth with 7.5 three's per game while Jamie Smith's eight blocks at Northern Illinois is tied for ninth on the single-game chart. Smith is also ranked 11th among all players with 2.7 blocks per game.
The Friendly Confines
This season opened with a pair of victories in the Moran Realty Classic followed by wins over Toledo and Illinois. A year ago, the Blue Demons were 12-2 with both loses coming in overtime games. The three losses this season came against a pair of top 10 teams in Purdue and Tennessee and a 50-48 loss to Saint Louis on Jan. 20. DePaul has won three straight over Tulane, Southern Miss and Marquette at the DAC.
In remaining Conference USA action, February home games include Louisville and Cincinnati. The 2002 Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament will be at the DePaul Athletic Center, Mar. 1-4.
Giving to Charity
Last year, the Blue Demons led Conference USA with a .716 overall mark from the free throw line. In league play, DePaul shot .733 and were 241-326 (.739) over their last 19 games. Williams ranked second in the league with an .827 (86-104) percentage from the stripe.
13 Straight Against the State
DePaul's last loss came on Dec. 10, 1999, when Illinois posted a 74-64 win over the Blue Demons in Champaign.
In addition to winning 13 consecutive games, DePaul has also won 20 of the last 21 contests with state schools. Over the stretch of 21 games, DePaul has defeated Loyola and Northern Illinois four times and Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, and Northwestern three times each. They have also knocked off Southern Illinois twice and Chicago State once.
Jenni Dant's Jersey in Ring of Honor