Blue Demon Send-Off Sweet as Team Heads to 11th Straight NCAA Tourney
March 22, 2013
CHICAGO - Fans and friends of the DePaul women's basketball team packed the entrance to McGrath-Phillips Arena on Friday morning to send the Blue Demons off in style as they embark on a trip to their 11th straight NCAA Tournament.
"I can't believe this is my last one, going to four different tournaments and walking through I was thinking, `this is it,'" said senior guard Anna Martin. "It was definitely a sad moment, had to hold back the tears a little bit."
While she was sad to go through her last send-off at DePaul, Martin and the team couldn't be more thrilled to be back in the tournament and playing in Durham, N.C. on the campus of Duke University.
"I think we're just excited to go out and play at Cameron," said Martin. "The team's really focused, we've prepared well and watched a lot of film so we're ready to play. This week is the first week I think we've had our whole team be able to play and I don't think we've played our best basketball yet, so what a great platform to do so."
Head coach Doug Brunowas also excited for his players, who have battled through a number of injuries this season, and doesn't believe the Blue Demons have peaked just yet.
"This is what the players play for, and collegiate athletes spend an entire year working for the quickness of this tournament," said head coach Doug Bruno. "The fans really love it and the media loves the tournament. You work so hard to get here and it's just one-in-a-row as many times as you can make it happen."
DePaul and Oklahoma State's first-round game will be played 30-minutes following the No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Hampton game, which is scheduled to tip at 11:05 p.m. (CT). Both games will air on ESPN2.
"[Oklahoma State is] a great team and rebounds well and have great scorers at all five positions. Plus, they're experienced," said Bruno. "They won the NIT last year, which means they won one-in-a-row six times and were one of only two teams in the country to finish their season with a win. This is a really good NCAA Tournament team, and we're going to have to stop them in five different spots, which makes it difficult. They're a very strong rebounding team and that's an area we have to get better at ourselves."
DePaul (21-11) is making its 18th NCAA Tournament with its first appearance coming in 1990. DePaul is 10-17 in NCAA games and reached the Sweet 16 in 2011 and in 2006. The Blue Demons have reached the second round eight times, including the last two seasons.
Oklahoma State (20-10) reached the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament this season and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010. Last season the Cowgirls captured the WNIT Title. The program is making its 11 NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Blue Demons and Cowgirls are meeting for the third time in the programs history and most recently met in 1991. OSU owns a 2-0 series advantage including a 1-0 mark in NCAA Tournament meetings. The Cowgirls narrowly defeated the Blue Demons in Stillwater, 81-80 in the first round of the 1991 NCAA Tournament.