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Blue Demons Open C-USA Tourney on Friday

2004 Conference USA Tournament
Mar. 4-7, 2004
Daniel-Meyer Coliseum - Fort Worth, Texas

C-USA Tournament Guide

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FORT WORTH, Texas - For the third straight season, the DePaul women’s basketball team enters the annual Conference USA Tournament with a first-round bye.  A year ago in Memphis, the Blue Demons were the No. 3 seed and stood as the fourth seed at the DePaul Athletic Center in 2002.  The club enters the 12-team tourney at 22-5 overall and 10-4 in Conference USA action following three consecutive road losses at Houston, TCU and Marquette to end the regular season.  DePaul faces the winner of the Marquette-Tulane matchup on Friday at 3 p.m.

Others receiving first-day passes are league regular-season champion Houston along with host TCU and Louisville.  Southern Miss and Saint Louis failed to make the field.  Sunday’s winner earns Conference USA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

DePaul heads into the tournament at No. 24 in the Mar. 1 Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Feb. 23 ESPN/USA Today/WBCA Coaches rankings.  The team leads C-USA and the nation in scoring and steals.  DePaul averages 85.9 points and 14.1 steals per contest.

DePaul in the C-USA Tourney:  DePaul took the No. 4 seed after being picked second in the preseason coaches poll.  A year ago, the team was the No. 3 seed and lost, 81-64, to second-seeded Cincinnati in the semifinals.

The Blue Demons are 6-8 all-time in C-USA Tournament games and have played just one tourney game on four occasions.  In 1996, they reached the championship game and three years ago in Milwaukee they lost in the semifinals.  In 1997, the Blue Demons lost in the quarterfinals.  Cincinnati has been DePaul’s nemisis in two of the last three league tournaments by knocking the Blue Demons out in the semifinals.

Sizing Up the Field:  DePaul is 8-4 against the 11 possible opponents in the tournament field.  The Blue Demons posted wins over Cincinnati, East Carolina, Louisville, Memphis, Tulane, UAB and USF while falling to Charlotte, Houston and TCU.  DePaul and Marquette split the season series with each winning on their home floor.

Fifth-seeded Marquette and DePaul played a pair of classic games with each going down to the wire.  On Feb. 8 at the DePaul Athletic Center, Charlene Smith’s jumper in the final seconds sealed the 61-59 win for the Blue Demons.  Three weeks later, Smith nearly pulled off the same feat, but she was whistled for an offensive foul and the Golden Eagles survived a furious DePaul comeback in the 62-61 decision at the Al McGuire Center.

The No. 12 Tulane Green Wave suffered a 99-60 defeat at the DePaul Athletic Center on Jan. 25.  With the win, the Blue Demons took a slim 6-5 advantage in the series and the 39-point margin of victory was the largest of the 11 meetings.

Potential Quarterfinal Opponents
No. 5 Marquette Golden Eagles - The Blue Demons and Golden Eagles could meet for the third time this season and second time in six days on Friday afternoon.  Marquette enters the tournament at 19-8 overall and 9-5 in Conference USA action.  The two teams split the season series with each team winning on their home floor.  Both games ended in nearly indentical fashion on a Charlene Smith jumper in the final seconds.  On Feb. 8 at the DePaul Athletic Center, Smith banked in a five-footer in the final seconds for DePaul’s 61-59 victory.  Exactly three weeks later, on Feb. 29, Smith hit another last-second game-winner from the same spot on the floor, but it was called off due to an offensive foul.  Kelly Schwerman leads the team with 12.1 points while Crystal Weaver adds 7.9 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game.  Head coach Terri Mitchell is in her eighth season as head coach of the Golden Eagles.  At Marquette, she holds a 148-81 record.

The Series: A possible meeting on Friday would be the 43rd all-time meeting between the two teams with the Blue Demons holding a 26-16 advantage.  Marquette is DePaul’s most common opponent with the first game played on Feb. 23, 1978.  The Golden Eagle win on Feb. 29 snapped a five-game series winning streak for the Blue Demons.  The two teams have met just once in Conference USA Tournament action.  Marquette knocked off the Blue Demons, 80-65, in the quarterfinals of the 1997 tournament at Alumni Hall in Chicago.

No. 12 Tulane Green Wave - DePaul and Tulane could possibly meet for the third time in C-USA Tournament play.  The Blue Demons won the meeting this season, 99-60, on Jan. 25 at the DePaul Athletic Center.  Tulane enters the tournament at 10-17 overall and 3-11 in Conference USA action.  Their 65-51 win over Southern Miss to end the season secured a berth in the C-USA Tournament.  Lakethia Hampton leads the team with 13.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.  Head coach Lisa Stockton is in her 10th season as head coach of the Green Wave.  At Tulane, she holds a 214-91 record.

The Series: A possible meeting on Friday would be the 12th all-time meeting between the two teams with the Blue Demons holding a slim 6-5 advantage.  DePaul has won two straight and four of the last five meetings between the two teams.  The 39-point win earlier this season for DePaul was the largest margin of victory by either team in the series.  In that game, the Blue Demons held a 39-36 lead at halftime before outscoring the Green Wave, 60-24, in the second stanza.  In the previous 10 meetings before this season, the average margin of victory was just 9.9 points per game.

Noting the Blue Demons: The 2003-04 campaign is the 30th season of women’s basketball at DePaul University... the team is averaging an NCAA-high 85.9 points per game... they have scored at least 90 points in 11 games and 100 points five times... the five 100-point games are a single-season school record... DePaul has scored at least 50 points in a half on 14 occasions this season... since scoring 90 at East Carolina on Feb. 2, DePaul is averaging just 68.3 points per game... at least four players have scored in double-figures in 17 games... Khara Smith has earned Conference USA Player of the Week honors four times this season and was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 Candidates list... over the final six regular-season games, non-starters scored just 19 points... over the last seven games, the club is shooting .264 from behind the arc (42-of-159)... DePaul’s former 10-game win streak from Dec. 19, 2003-Jan. 25, 2004 was the longest since a 17-gamer from Jan. 11-Mar. 3, 1988... there have been just five winning streaks of at least 10 games in school history... DePaul is 9-4 on the road and victorious in 17 of the last 23 regular season C-USA games... over the last two seasons, the Blue Demons are 27-1 at home with the lone loss coming in overtime to No. 2 Tennessee in December... in those 28 games, DePaul is 25-1 at the DePaul Athletic Center and 2-0 at the Allstate Arena... with the Dec. 14 win over Southern Illinois at the Allstate Arena, the Blue Demons are 20-4 all-time in Rosemont... the victory at Holy Cross was the 500th in the program’s history... the club has 382 steals while forcing 618 turnovers... the team single-season steal record is 493 by the 1988-89 squad... DePaul has trailed at halftime five times this season and is 1-4 in those games... at the free throw line, DePaul has made 443 free shots while opponents have attempted 436... the team single-season record for free throws made is 527 in 1986-87.