April 15, 2014
CHICAGO - The DePaul women's basketball team celebrated its successful 2013-14 season at Erie Café in Chicago's River North neighborhood on Tuesday. Senior Jasmine Penny was named the team's most valuable player while nine other awards were handed out in an evening in which the Blue Demons celebrated the program’s third NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and its BIG EAST Conference regular season and tournament championships.
DePaul seniors Kelsey Reynolds, Kelsey Smith and Penny all shared the Maggie Dixon Captain's Award. The award is named after the former DePaul assistant coach who passed away tragically in April 2006. The award honors Dixon's commitment to the game and passion for excelling both on and off the court.
The individual statistical awards were given out to the top free throw and 3-point shooters along with the team's top rebounder and assist distributors. The team's top defenders were also honored.
Sophomore Chanise Jenkins earned her second consecutive free throw award after boasting a team best and program-record .875 percentage from the charity stripe. The sophomore converted key free throws including a pair in the final seconds to seal the Blue Demons’ win over Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The Chicago native connected on 70-of-80 free throw attempts. Jenkins made all seven of her free throws in the NCAA Tournament and connected on 18-of-19 during the postseason.
A staple of DePaul's high-octane offense is the team's ability to share the ball and find the open player. The 2013-14 season showcased DePaul’s ability to do just that as the Blue Demons ranked third in the nation with 19.6 assists per game. With DePaul’s backcourt routinely finding the open player, Brittany Hrynko and Jenkins shared the team’s assist award. The dynamic and sometimes flashy duo combined for 389 of DePaul’s program-record 705 assists.
Hrynko (5.6) and Jenkins (5.2) were ranked one-two in the BIG EAST for assists per game. The Blue Demon passing duo was the only Division I tandem to each have more than 185 assists this season. Hrynko dished out a career-best 12 assists in two games while Jenkins tallied 10 against Loyola and Marquette. Hrynko’s 202 assists ranks third in DePaul’s single-season record book and are the most by a DePaul player since the 1989-90 season. Jenkins’ 187 assists ranks fourth all-time at DePaul.
Hrynko is a three-time winner of DePaul’s assist award and enters her senior season with 495 career assists which ranks second all-time at DePaul and is sixth among active Division I players. She was an Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-America.
Megan Rogowski earned the team’s 3-point shooting award after setting a new program standard for triples with 114 on the year. The junior led the BIG EAST and ranked fourth in Division I with 3.26 3-pointers per game while she knocked down four or more 3-pointers in 14 games. A proficient shooter from beyond the arc, Rogowski ranked third in Division I with her amazing .452 3-point field goal percentage and made over 50 percent of her 3-pointers in 16 games. Rogowski enters her senior season with a .386 (204-of-529) 3-point field goal percentage which ranks seventh among active Division I players.
Jessica January and Hrynko shared the team’s defensive award. January, a freshman, was DePaul’s first option off the bench and provided a defensive energy the moment she walked on the floor. January’s quickness stopped many fast-break opportunities while her quick hands led to 53 steals on the year.
Hrynko was routinely assigned to guard the opponent’s top player and did so with unbridled intensity. She regularly held the opponent’s top scorer below her season average and led the BIG EAST with 86 steals. The junior from Philadelphia averaged 3.14 defensive rebounds per game and registered a season-best eight defensive rebounds against Duquesne and at Providence and Villanova.
Sophomore Megan Podkowa earned the team’s rebounding award. Podkowa led the Blue Demons and ranked 12th in the BIG EAST with 6.3 rebounds per game. In DePaul’s three NCAA Tournament games, she crashed the boards unabashedly which resulted in a nine-rebound effort against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16. The Glenview, Ill. native, grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds at Notre Dame and finished three other games – Pittsburgh, at Seton Hall and at Xavier -- with 10 rebounds.
Jenkins earned the Pat Ewers Unsung Hero Award. The sophomore was pivotal in DePaul’s success on the court – whether is was quietly dishing out a half dozen assists, scoring 15 or more points or sinking key free throws or 3-pointers down the stretch of a game – Jenkins came through with whatever was needed.
The sophomore from Whitney Young ranked 19th in Division I and second in the BIG EAST with her impressive 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and finished 15 games with one or fewer turnovers. The 5-8 guard was one of two Blue Demons to record a double-double on the year and did so with 13 points and 10 rebounds at Northwestern.
Centrese McGee was awarded the Cookie Gavin Courage Award which was handed out by Coach Doug Bruno. McGee returned to the court after missing 2011-12 season with an injury at Illinois and sat out last season under the NCAA transfer guidelines. She battled the adversity of missing two seasons and returned to the court to provide the Blue Demons with valuable minutes (13.4 per game). She sparked the team with a defensive stop through a steal, scrapping on the floor for a loose ball or grabbing a much needed rebound from the offensive or defensive glass.
Penny was named the team’s MVP after leading the Blue Demons in total points (568) and averaging 15.8 points per game. The senior knocked down 58 percent of her shots which was the 11th-best field goal percentage in Division I and was key to her being named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-America.
The Logansport, Ind., native went on a six-game scoring spree from Dec. 29 to Jan. 14 in which she put up at least 21 points. Penny tied a career-high with 29 at Bradley and scored 20 or more points in 12 games this season which included 24 points against Texas A&M in the NCAA Regional Semifinal.
The All-BIG EAST First Team selection and BIG EAST Tournament Most Valuable Player ranks fifth all-time at DePaul in field goal percentage and finished her career with 1,417 points which ranks 17th all-time in the Blue Demon annals.
The Shirley Becker Academic Award, named for the former Director of Athletics Academic Advising, was handed out to Meri Bennett-Swanson, Brooke Schulte, January, McGee, Penny, Podkowa, Reynolds, Rogowski and Smith, who all have cumulative GPAs in the fall and winter quarters above 3.5. Becker was DePaul's first academic advisor before she lost her battle to colon cancer in 1995.
DePaul finished the year ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Demons were also ranked No. 23 in the final Associated Press poll which was released prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament. With a successful and unforgettable season, the Blue Demons set new program standards for points (3,006), field goals (1,085), field goal attempts (2,409), 3-point field goals (314), 3-point field goal attempts (880) and assists (705). The team tied the program records for wins (29) and games played (36).
With such impressive numbers, DePaul finished the season ranked in the top 35 in Division I in the categories of assists (3rd), steals (4th), scoring offense (5th), assist-to-turnover ratio (9th), turnover margin (10th), 3-point field goals per game (15th), win/loss percentage (17th), field goal percentage (20th), scoring margin (25th), and 3-point field goal percentage (34th).