Blue Demons Going After a Triple Crown
March 6, 2018
CHICAGO – It all comes down to this---the two best teams in the BIG EAST going head-to-head for the conference tournament title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Just as most in the league expected with DePaul (25-7) and Marquette (23-8) the preseason picks by coaches to finish at the top. They wound up tied for the regular-season title and split their two meetings, each winning on its home court.
One of the hottest rivalries in the BIG EAST will only be intensified by the fired-up fan bases from both schools and the national telecast on FS1.
What a perfect time for Doug Bruno to coach in his 1,000th game at DePaul (666-333).
It’s a repeat of last year’s BIG EAST Tournament title game in Milwaukee where the Golden Eagles came away with an eight-point win.
In the first encounter this season on Jan. 4 at the Al McGuire Center, coach Doug Bruno’s team was outscored 28-13 in the first quarter and never fully recovered during a 93-81 loss. Coming off near back-to-back triple-doubles, Kelly Campbell finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Mart’e Grays led the scoring column with 19 points while Amarah Coleman contributed 16 points and Chante Stonewall 13 points and eight rebounds. BIG EAST Player of the Year Allazia Blockton led Marquette with 25 points.
The rematch Jan. 29 at McGrath-Phillips Arena was a different story. This time, the Blue Demons came out with a purpose and led 25-22 after one quarter. They finished just as strong, outscoring their rival 51-43 in the final two quarters for a 95-83 victory.
Six DePaul players scored in double figures led by Campbell’s 20 points. She also added nine rebounds and six assists. Ashton Millender scored 16 points, Coleman 15, Stonewall 14 points and eight boards, Mart’e Grays 12 points and Tanita Allen added 10 points.
Marquette is powered by Blockton, Natisha Hiedeman, Amani Wilborn, Erika Davenport and Danielle King all averaging in double figures, The Blue Demons counter with a balanced attack featuring five players also averaging in double figures led by All-BIG EAST First Team selection Grays at 14.4 points per game followed by Millender (13.6), Coleman (11.9), All-BIG EAST first-teamer Campbell (10.5) and Stonewall (10.5).
Bruno’s team has finished in double figures from three-point range an impressive 24 times in 32 games this season. The most accurate from beyond the arc have been Millender (.416 shooting percentage), Stonewall (.389), Grays (.366), Lauren Prochaska (.353) and Campbell (.347).
Campbell has been on a rebounding binge with 218 in her last 21 games and has 10 or more rebounds in 13 games. She leads the team in that category along with assists, steals and free throw percentage.
The Blue Demons lead the country in three-pointers per game and are second in three-point attempts and three-point field goals. They are No. 5 in assists per game, No. 7 in assists, No. 10 in scoring offense and No. 11 in assist-turnover ratio.
Campbell is No. 3 in nation in assist-turnover ratio, No. 20 in assists and No. 24 in assists per game. Millender is No. 22 in three-pointers. Lauren Prochaska is No. 23 in assist-turnover ratio.
In Sunday’s 78-52 BIG EAST quarterfinal win over Seton Hall, DePaul set a BIG EAST Tournament record with 44 three-point attempts, surpassing the 34 by Connecticut in March of 1993. In the 85-53 semifinal win over Georgetown, the Blue Demons tied a season high with 51 rebounds.
Marquette is coming off a 76-70 win over Creighton Monday in the BIG EAST semifinals as BIG EAST Player of the Year Allazia Blockton scored a career-high 32 points and added 11 rebounds.
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