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DePaul Hosts Syracuse on Senior Day

CHICAGO - The DePaul women's basketball team will close out the home portion of its 2009-10 schedule on Saturday when it welcomes Syracuse for a BIG EAST Conference tilt at 7 p.m. at McGrath Arena.  Saturday will also serve as Senior Day as the Blue Demons will recognize Deirdre Naughton and Rachel Pierson while senior managers Kellyn Bailey and Caitlin O'Malley will also be honored in a postgame ceremony.

The game can be heard live on with Dave Bernhard calling the action from courtside.  Bernhard's pregame show is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m., while DePaul's BlueTube will provide a video stream that will compliment Bernhard's broadcast.

Saturday's game is a pivotal game for both the Blue Demons and the Orange as one game separates the two teams in the conference standings.  DePaul (18-10) enters the game with a 7-7 league record and is tied for sixth place with Providence and Rutgers.  Syracuse (19-8) is 6-8 in conference play and sits in ninth place in the standings.  With every BIG EAST team playing two games in the next four days the standings will soon become seeds for the league championship in Hartford, Connecticut March 5-9.

The 2009-10 BIG EAST Championship will once again includes all 16 teams with the top four teams in the final regular-season standings receiving byes through two rounds of tournament play. The No. 5-8 seeds will earn first-round byes and will begin play on March 6.

Following Saturday's game, DePaul hits the road and closes out the regular season at USF on March 1. 

Following Saturday's postgame on court ceremony, the Blue Demons will continue its senior celebration at the DePaul Student Center (2250 North Sheffield Ave).  All fans are invited to enjoy the festivities at the Student Center which will include free food and beverages. 

Noting the Blue Demons: DePaul is 651-383 (.629) all-time... the 2009-10 campaign is the 36th season of women's basketball at DePaul University... DePaul has made at least 200 3-pointers in a season the last 10 seasons... since the start of the 2003-04 season (220 games), the Blue Demons have held 63.2 percent of their opponents to less than 70 points (139-of-220)... in that span, DePaul is 118-21 (.852) when holding opponents to less than 70 points... DePaul has held 20 of its 28 opponents to less than 70 points this season... in that same time span, DePaul has scored 70 or more points in 149 games... DePaul is 128-21 when scoring 70 plus points... this season, DePaul is 13-0 when scoring 70 or more points... in the last five-plus seasons (190 games), the Blue Demons are 133-57 (.700)... in the last 60 home games against conference opponents, DePaul has posted 48 victories... over the last nine-plus seasons (313 games), DePaul has scored at least 80 points in 106 games... the Blue Demons hold a 101-5 (.953) record in those games... in the same span, DePaul is 42-1, including 40 straight wins, when scoring at least 90 points.

Coloring Orange: Enters Saturday's game with a 19-8 overall record and is 6-8 in BIG EAST games... 1-3 in its last four games... 3-3 in the month of February... is 5-3 in away games this season... ranked as high as No. 22 on the USA Today/ESPN Poll... Nicole Michael leads with 15.2 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game... Juanita Ward follows with 18.4 ppg and 5.6 rbg... the Orange rank third in the BIG EAST with 73.3 ppg... defense ranks second, holding opponents to a .340 shooting percentage... Michael ranks No. 7 in the league in both scoring and rebounding.

Blue and Orange Series: DePaul and Syracuse square off for the fifth time since the Blue Demons entered the BIG EAST in the 2005-06 season... DePaul leads the series 3-1... DePaul won the first two contests before Syracuse escaped McGrath Arena with a three-point (69-66) victory in 2008... DePaul has defeated Syracuse by an average margin of 14 points... DePaul won the last series meeting 87-79 at Syracuse... Deirdre Naughton led the floor with 25 points while Sam Quigley played all 40 minutes with 23 points... Felicia Chester followed with 12 points while Keisha Hampton ended with 11... Natasha Williams grabbed a floor-best 11 rebounds... Syracuse was led by Erica Morrow with 19 points... Chandra Jones recorded the double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

It could happen: The game is No. 1035 in DePaul women's basketball history... Quigley could start her 65th consecutive game, the longest active streak on the team... with one assist, Quigley has dished out an assist in her last 58 games... Quigley enters the game with 324 career assists, needs one assists to tie Andrea Morgan (1984-88) for eighth place in the career record book... Quigley enters the game with 150 assists, needs one assists to tied Andrea Morgan (1987-88) for eighth in the single season record book, needs six to tie Kim Williams (1992-93) for fifth...  Felicia Chester needs three block to tie for 10th in DePaul's single-season block record... Cathy Pezdirtz (1992-93) had 40 blocks.

Recapping Pittsburgh: The score was tied three times, but DePaul never trailed in the game... After leading 41-24 at halftime, Pitt started the second half on a 20-6 run to close within three at 47-44... DePaul shot 41.8 percent from the field, while making seven 3-pointers... DePaul went to the line just six times, making five foul shots... Felicia Chester had her third career double-double -- 18 points and 11 rebounds... Sam Quigley dished a career-high 11 assists-- just one off the arena record of 12 set by Deirdre Naughton against Providence in 2009... Quigley now ties for seventh with 150 assists in DePaul's single season record book and ninth with 324 career assists... Keisha Hampton recorded a season-high five steals... Hampton led all scorers with 24 points... fifth time this season she has reached the 20+ mark... Hampton's 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line  is her seventh perfect performance of the season... DePaul has combined for 41 individual perfect free-performances this season... Hampton drained a career-high four 3-point field goals... DePaul tied a season-high with eight blocks... Hampton had four, Katherine Harry had a pair and Chester and Taylor Pikes each had one... DePaul outscored Pitt 36-22 in the paint... With 12 points and 18 rebounds, Chelsea Cole tallied her third-straight double-double and fifth of the year... Taneisha Harrison led the Panthers with 21 points... Harrison surpassed the 500 career-points milestone... ended the night with 514 career points... The Panthers outrebounded the Blue Demons 46-38... tonight's loss snaps a three game winning streak for Pittsburgh... DePaul has now tied the all-time series with Pittsburgh, 4-4... the last time the Blue Demons defeated the Panthers prior to tonight was last season, when DePaul took a 69-62 victory... Pittsburgh went on to defeat DePaul at the BIG EAST tournament, 62-59.

Looking Ahead: DePaul closes out the regular season at USF on March 1.  Following their regular season finale, the Blue Demons head to the BIG EAST Conference Championship in Hartford, Conn.  Seedings for the Championship will be announced on Monday night with the top four teams getting a two-game bye while seeds five-eight will receive a first round bye.

BIG EAST Championship Presented by New York Life: The BIG EAST will welcome all 16 teams to the 2010 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Championship Presented by New York Life, who will all battle for the conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid. The women's tournament begins Friday, March 5 and continues through the championship game, which will be played Tuesday, March 9. All games will be played at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. While this year's BIG EAST Championship includes all 16 teams, the regular season remains a crucial part of the conference schedule. The top four teams in the final regular-season standings will receive byes through two rounds of tournament play. The No. 5-8 seeds will earn first-round byes.

DePaul at the BIG EAST Conference Championship: DePaul is looking to reach its fifth BIG EAST Championship since joining the league in 2005-06... qualified for the tournament in 05-06, 06-07, 07-08 before the tournament moved to a 16-team format in 2008-09... the program is 24-17 (.585) all-time in conference tournaments dating back to the 1989 season... in BIG EAST Championship play, the Blue Demons hold a 4-4 record... all four wins have come in DePaul's opening round game... as a No. 6 seed in 2008-09, the Blue Demons defeated 11th seeded West Virginia 75-72 in overtime, but then dropped a close 62-59 game to No. 4 Pittsburgh... as a ninth seed in 2007-08, DePaul upset eighth-seeded Marquette, 73-69, before falling to top-seeded Connecticut, 86-67, in the quarterfinals... in the 2007 tournament, DePaul - as a No. 10 seed - defeated seventh-seeded Notre Dame, 76-71, in the first round before falling to second-seeded Rutgers, 63-55, in the quarterfinals... the third-seeded Blue Demons defeated No. 6 seed Pittsburgh, 69-46, in the quarterfinals before falling to second-seeded Connecticut, 69-57, in the semifinals of the 2006 tourney... with two games in each of its four 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 four BIG EAST Championships.

Looking at the RPI: DePaul has a RPI of 31 in the NCAA RPI rankings that were released on Feb. 22... UConn (1), Notre Dame (6), West Virginia (9)Georgetown (12), St. John's (20) and Rutgers (24) are ahead of DePaul in the NCAA RPI... the Blue Demons have a RPI of No. 24 according to UConn (1), Notre Dame (5), West Virginia (7), Georgetown (11) and St. John's (17) are ranked ahead of DePaul in that poll... DePaul is No. 26 in UConn (1), Notre Dame (6), West Virginia (9), Georgetown (13) and St. John's (19) are all ranked before DePaul.

Marching Along: DePaul made its seventh consecutive and the program's 14th NCAA Championship appearance in 2009...  Blue Demons were one of seven BIG EAST programs in the field of 64... the conference led all leagues along with the Big 12 with teams earning bids... the program is 7-14 (.333) all-time in NCAA Championship play... DePaul is one of 14 teams to appear in each of the last seven tournaments... joining the Blue Demons on the list of 14 teams with seven straight NCAA's are Connecticut, Duke, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rutgers, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt... the seven straight appearances are a program record for consecutive NCAA's... DePaul earned four consecutive NCAA berths from 1990-93 followed by a three-year run from 1995-97... the program is 4-8 entering in its last seven tournament appearances, including a 2006 NCAA Regional Semifinal appearance in San Antonio, Texas.

Charity Stripe Success: DePaul is ranked the 21st country and leads the BIG EAST with a .754 (328-for-435) free throw percentage... Sam Quigley ranks 60th in the nation and leads the Blue Demons with a .826 (100-for-121) free throw percentage... Quigley's free throw percentage ranks fifth in the BIG EAST... DePaul started the season with a 17-for-18 (.944) effort against Central Michigan... against West Virginia was 9-for-10 with Keisha Hampton hitting 8-of-8 for a season-best... Hampton's 8-for-8 showing was the 29th time a DePaul player has been a perfect 8-for-8, 10 other players also had a perfect free throw percentage... DePaul shot over .750 in 17 games this season... nine Blue Demons have recorded a 1.000 free throw percentage (min. 2 attempts) 41 times this season... Quigley has 11 perfect efforts while Felicia Chester and Hampton each have seven perfect games.

Nice Pass:  Sam Quigley ranks 25th in the country with 5.4 assists per game...  ranks second in league behind West Virginia's Sarah Miles (6.2 apg)... Quigley ranks No. 114 in the country in assist to turnover ratio... the junior leads the Blue Demons with 150 assists while she has turned over the ball just 107 times for a 1.40 assist to turnover ratio... 150 assists ties No. 7 in DePaul's single-season record book... needs one assist to tie Tammy Williams (1992-93) for sixth and six assists to tie Kim Williams for fifth... Quigley has led the Blue Demons in assists 22 times this season... had a career-best 11 assists vs. Pittsburgh on Feb. 23... 11 assists is the most by a BIG EAST player in league action this season...  has had at least one assist in her last 57 games.

Minute Monster:  Sam Quigley leads the BIG EAST by averaging 38.2 minutes per game... Quigley has played 13 complete games this season and 16 in her career... the junior averages a league best 39.9 minutes in BIG EAST games this season (DePaul played two overtime games in league play)... in her last 14 games, Quigley has sat just 11 minutes and played all available minutes at Rutgers, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Marquette (Jan. 31), at Providence, against Connecticut, at Notre Dame and vs. Pittsburgh... played five consecutive 40 minute games before getting a minute break against Villanova... played 1069 of a possible 1130 minutes this season.

Hanging on the freshman Harry:  Freshman forward Katherine Harry entered the starting lineup against Arkansas on Dec. 19... named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Feb. 2... career-high with 18 boards in DePaul's wins over UNLV (Dec. 21), Cornell (Nov. 20) and Cincinnati (Jan. 27)... has nine double-figure rebound performances... eight double-digit scoring performances including a career-high 18 against Villanova... five double-doubles this season... recorded double-figure rebounds in three of her last six games... only freshman in the BIG EAST to rank in the top 10 in rebounding in all-games and in BIG EAST only games... ranks eighth in the league with 8.0 rpg... ranks sixth in BIG EAST only games with 8.7 rebounds per game... ranks No. 106 in the nation with 8.0 rebounds per game... third on the team with 31 blocks.

Block Party:  DePaul averages 4.2 blocks per game and has swatted 117 shots this season... 117 blocks ranks seventh in DePaul's single season record book... the 2008-09 team is sixth with 125 swats... averages 4.9 blocks in BIG EAST games which ranks fourth in the league...  only team in the BIG EAST to have three players ranked in the top 15 for blocks per game... Felicia Chester leads the trio with 37 blocks (1.3 bpg), followed by Keisha Hampton with 32 blocks (1.1 bpg) and Katherine Harry with 30 (1.1 bpg)... DePaul had a season-high eight blocks against Marquette on Jan. 31 and repeated that feat against Pittsburgh... has six or more blocks eight times this season.

Pink Zone: DePaul head coach Doug Bruno reached into his own pockets when DePaul played Villanova in its third annual "Pink Zone" game on Feb. 6, 2010.  Coach Bruno pledged to donate $1 for every pink shirt in the crowd and with 2,008 fans sporting pink, Coach donated $2,008 to breast cancer research.  In the last three Pink Zone games sponsored by DePaul, Coach Bruno has personally donated over $9,000 to breast cancer research.  The Blue Demons defeated Villanova 64-60 this season.

Coaching on the same side, coaching separately: DePaul head coach Doug Bruno and Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma's coached on opposite benches for their conference tilt on Feb. 10, however; Bruno is Auriemma's assistant for Team USA.  Auriemma, who was named the head coach for the 2010 Women's Basketball World Championship, brought Bruno on as his assistant in September of 2009.

Home Cookin': Through nine-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 117-21 (.848) record in the arena's 138 games. DePaul's .848 winning percentage entering the 2009-10 season ranks ninth among all active arenas and 11th all-time.

Beginning its 36th season of women's basketball at DePaul University, the Blue Demons have an all-time home court record of 381-105 (.784). 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, 2008 with the 102-68 loss to #3/3 Tennessee.

Over the last seven-plus years at McGrath Arena, the team is 95-14 at home with five 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 before the 77-76 loss to #1/1 Connecticut on Mar. 1, 2008. Maybe more impressive is that the Blue Demons' average margin of victory during that span that 20.2 points per game.

The Blue Demons have also posted 94 victories in the last 97 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 in 2007-08. During the 58-game streak, there were 54 victories at McGrath Arena and four wins at the Allstate Arena.

Martin Moments:  Martin has started 20 games for the Blue Demons... fourth on the team with 9.3 points per game... second the team with 31, 3-pointers... career-high 19 points at Green Bay... grabbed a team-best eight rebounds at Northern Illinois... entered the starting lineup against Northern Illinois after Deirdre Naughton suffered a season-ending knee injury... had at least one steal in 12 of DePaul's 14 BIG EAST games.

Coach Doug Bruno Court: Beginning in the 2010-11 season, the Blue Demons will play their home games at McGrath Arena on Coach Doug Bruno Court.  DePaul's Director of Athletics, Jean Lenti Ponsetto made the announcement on Nov. 16.  The 2010-11 season will also mark Coach Bruno's 25th season at DePaul while he is also on track to record his 500th career win that season. 

Against Ranked Opponents this season: DePaul has faced six nationally ranked opponents this season... 1-5 against ranked opponents this season...  five of those five contests have been on the road or on a neutral court... played road games at then-No. 2 Stanford (Dec. 13), then-No. 22/17 West Virginia (Jan. 9), at then-No. 19/18 Georgetown (Jan. 23) and at No. 4/3 Notre Dame (Feb.14)... won against then-No. 10/6 Florida State (Dec. 20) at the Duel in the Desert Tournament in Las Vegas.

Taking Advantage from Beyond the Arc: Since the start of the 2005-06 season (159 games), the club has knocked down 1055 trifectas compared to just 801 for the opposition... with three 3-pointers against San Diego State at the NCAA Championship in San Diego, the team clinched the 10th 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... more recently, the Blue Demons 0-14 showing at Northern Illinois ended a 144 game streak with a 3-pointer, while they were 0-11 against Arkansas... including the Houston, Northern Illinois and Arkansas games, the Blue Demons have tallied a three-pointer in 424 of the last 427 games.

Injury Report - Naughton, Threatt & Pierson:  Deirdre Naughton will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee.  Naughton, who entered the Northwestern game averaging 17.5 points per game this season, injured her knee in the first half of No. 15/21 DePaul's 59-55 loss to the Wildcats on Nov. 24. "Deirdre Naughton has been the heart and soul of this basketball team," Blue Demons head coach Doug Bruno said. "To lose her for the season is a devastating blow to this team. Every team in the nation at one time or another has been forced to deal with the adversity of injuries. Losing Deirdre Naughton will test the metal of this year's ballclub and we do expect every member of our team to step up in her absence." Naughton, was named to the preseason Wade Watch and was a Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden candidate prior to the 2009-10 season. A second team All-BIG EAST Conference selection and Associated Press All-American honorable mention as a junior, Naughton has scored 1,470 points in her career. She played her freshman season at Wake Forest in 2005-06 before transferring to DePaul.

China Threatt - last season's BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year - and Rachel Pierson have been sidelined by injuries.  Threatt suffered a career-ending knee injury while Pierson is out with a back injury.

LPTV: DePaul has partnered with LPTV and will play four games on that station.  LPTV is one of Chicago's Public television stations and broadcasted DePaul's win over San Diego and UIC.  The Blue Demons games with BIG EAST Conference foes, Connecticut and West Virginia will also be carried on LPTV.  DePaul is 2-2 when playing on LPTV. 

Regular Season Tournament History: DePaul is 71-26 all-time in regular season tournaments dating back to 1980-81 season... DePaul has played in 44 regular season tournaments and won 24...  finished in second eight times... earlier this season won the Maggie Dixon Classic.

Duel in the Desert Recap: DePaul won its second tournament of the 2009-10 season with wins over Arkansas, No. 10/6 Florida State and host UNLV...  Sam Quigley was named the tournament's MVP while Anna Martin earned all-tournament honors... the Blue Demons opened the tournament with a slim 46-45 victory over Arkansas... Maureen Mulchrone came off the bench to lead the Blue Demons with 11 points while Katherine Harry had 10 rebounds...  DePaul defeated No. 10/6 Florida State 75-60 to reach the Championship game... DePaul trailed for just the 4:32 before taking the lead for good... led 37-29 at the half and led by as many at 19... overpowered UNLV 82-48 for the Championship... Harry led the floor with 18 rebounds and Martin had 18 points.

Maggie Dixon Recap: DePaul won the inaugural Maggie Dixon Classic in the Midwest with wins over Cornell and San Diego.  Formally known as the DePaul Invitational, the Maggie Dixon Classic honors former Blue Demon assistant coach Maggie Dixon, who died on April 6, 2006 of an arrhythmia. Dixon's tragic death came three weeks after her first season as the head coach at Army which saw the Black Knights win the Patriot League Championship and make the program's first trip to the NCAA Championship.  The Classic is the third tournament to be named after the former Blue Demon assistant and Army head coach.  Jamie Dixon, the head coach at Pittsburgh hosts a tournament at Madison Square Garden, while San Diego, Dixon's alma mater also hosts a tournament in Dixon's name.

The Blue Demons defeated Cornell, 89-50 while the biggest story of the night was freshman Katherine Harry's 18 rebounds.  Harry's 18 boards were the most by a Blue Demon player since Erin Carney grabbed 19 at Oklahoma.  Deirdre Naughton scored 24 as the Blue Demons claimed the Championship with an 84-64 win over San Diego.  Naughton earned MVP honors while Felicia Chester and Keisha Hampton were named to the All-Tournament team.

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 the 2009-10 season:
- 56 straight victories over unranked non-conference opponents at home
- 10 seasons in-a-row with at least 200 three-pointers
- Seven consecutive NCAA Championship appearances