Blue Demons Roll Over George Washington


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Charlene Smith scored 24 points and Khara Smith added 16 Saturday, and DePaul found its shooting touch in the second half to beat George Washington 83-46 in the opening round of the Midwest Regional.

The Blue Demons (23-6) shot 66 percent in the second half, repeatedly driving past defenders to outscore the Colonials 44-28 in the paint.

Charlene Smith and Khara Smith combined for the first 10 points of the second half, helping ninth-seeded DePaul pull away.

Jenni Dant added 16 points and Khara Smith had 12 rebounds for DePaul, which will meet Tennessee in Monday's second-round game.

Ugo Oha scored 15 points for eighth-seeded George Washington (22-8), which trailed 32-26 at the half. The Colonials turned the ball over five times in the first seven minutes of the second half as the Blue Demons opened a 20-point lead. George Washington turned the ball over 24 times.

DePaul won 18 of its first 19 games to start the season, the only defeat a 96-89 overtime loss at home to Tennessee on December 17. The Blue Demons were 22-2, but a four-game losing streak entering the NCAA tournament hurt their seeding.

The Blue Demons and Lady Vols square off on Monday night at 9 p.m. EST at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.  The winner moves on to the Midwest Regional in Norman, Okla. next weekend.

DePaul head coach Doug Bruno:
"When you chose to become a coach, you choose to measure by the scoreboard at the end of a competition and we really teach and preach strength up the middle - head, heart and guts.  And never has our strenght up the middle been more tested than in the last five weeks.  It's been five weeks tomorrow since we've had a victory.  So for them to come out and resurrect their ability to play the way we played in the early part of the season was absolutely huge.  I can't tell you how proud I was of them because of their ability to stay strong through this adversity."

Jenni Dant on DePaul's transition game this afternoon: "It was definitely important.  It helped us at the beginning of our season and obviously helped us get run-outs and open-court opportunities, as well as steals.  Again, in today's game it was also a necessity.  We needed to get out in the open court, get strips and steals and get back on the ball defensively.  We needed those points with no turnovers and to handle the ball well so that hopefully we could have those run-outs and get in the open court."

- DePaul moves on to the second round for the fourth time in school history.  The Blue Demons are 0-3 in the three previous trips.
- The program has never played a second-round game on a neutral court.  They lost at Iowa in 1996 (72-71), at Penn State in 1992 (77-54) and at Washington in 1990 (77-68).
- DePaul's three three-pointers matched a season-low, but the club scored 51 points in the second half for their 15 half of at least 50 points.
- The 83 points are the most since scoring 87 against Memphis on Feb. 15.
- DePaul is now 4-8 all-time in their nine NCAA Tournament appearances.




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