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Women's Hoops Hosts Maggie Dixon Classic, Play Harvard on Friday

Nov. 7, 2013

Game Notes:  DePaul | Harvard
All-Access: BlueTube

CHICAGO – With two preseason games in the books, the DePaul women’s basketball team opens its 2013-14 season by hosting the Maggie Dixon Classic, Nov. 8-9.  The Blue Demons welcome Cal Poly, Duquesne, and Harvard for the two-day tournament at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

DePaul tips its season at 7:30 p.m. versus Harvard on Friday.  The Blue Demons’ tilt with the Crimson follows the tournament’s opening game at 5:30 p.m. which features Duquesne and Cal Poly.  The winners and losers of each contest will then square off on Saturday.  DePaul will play its contest at 6 p.m. and Harvard will play at 8 p.m.  Saturday’s games are part of a basketball tripleheader with DePaul’s men hitting the hardwood against Grambling State at 3 p.m.

All of DePaul’s games during the Maggie Dixon Classic will be streamed live on DePaul’s BlueTube with Dave Bernhard and Trish Babcock McGraw calling the action courtside.  Gametracker is available for all three games while in-game scoring and notes can be followed at www.twitter.com/DePaulWBBSID.

Formerly known as the DePaul Invitational, the Maggie Dixon Classic was renamed in 2009 and honors former Blue Demon assistant coach Maggie Dixon, who died on April 6, 2006 of an arrhythmia. Dixon’s tragic death came three weeks after concluding her first season as the head coach at Army which saw the Black Knights win the Patriot League Championship and make the program’s first trip to the NCAA Championship.  

The Classic is the third tournament to be named after the former Blue Demon assistant and Army head coach.  Jamie Dixon, the head men’s basketball coach at Pittsburgh and Dixon’s older brother hosts a tournament at Madison Square Garden while San Diego, Dixon’s alma mater, also hosts a tournament in the late coach’s name.

DePaul opens its season receiving votes in both of the national polls and returns three starters from last season which saw the Blue Demons reach the NCAA Tournament for the 11th-straight year.  With an outstanding tradition of success, DePaul was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in the coaches’ preseason poll while junior Brittany Hrynko was selected as the preseason Player of the Year.

In their two exhibition games, the Blue Demons averaged 112.5 points per game and defeated Saint Xavier 101-59 and Illinois Wesleyan 124-56. Jasmine Penny led DePaul with 20.5 points, Megan Rogowski recorded 19.0 and freshman Jessica January added 18.5 in the exhibition games.  

On the glass, junior transfer Centrese McGee led DePaul with 7.5 rebounds while Brandi Harvey-Carr and Penny each grabbed 7.0 per outing.

DePaul and Harvard are squaring off for just the second time in the programs’ history.  DePaul won the only other meeting, 97-52 at McGrath-Phillips in the 2005 season opener for both teams.   

The Crimson are beginning their 40th season of women’s basketball and return 11 letterwinners from a season ago that finished 21-9 and made their second-straight WNIT appearance.  Harvard is one of two Ivy League schools DePaul has on its schedule.  The Blue Demons face Dartmouth on Dec. 16 in Lincoln Park.

DePaul is 30-9 all-time in its season opener and has won its last six.  Doug Bruno enters his 28th season at the helm of the Blue Demon program and is 21-6 in the first game of the season.

Tickets for all of DePaul’s athletic events can be purchased from the DePaul Athletics ticket office (773-325-SLAM) or online at DePaulBlueDemons.com.

Scouting Harvard:  Harvard returns 11 letterwinners and three starters from a squad that finished 21-9 and made its second-straight WNIT appearance a year ago… Christine Clark averaged 15.6 points per game a season ago…  a two-time All-Ivy first team selection Clark enters the season ranked 11th in Harvard history with 1,265 career points … Terri Fagbenle was a 2012 Olympian with Great Britain…  she averaged 7.7 rebounds per game in 2012-13.

Season- Opening Notes: The Blue Demons are 30-9 all-time in season openers and are 23-4 in season openers on their home floor… head coach Doug Bruno is 21-6 in the season’s first game at DePaul… the Blue Demons have won their last six season openers… DePaul has won 11 of its last 12 season openers dating back to the 2001-02 season.

Looking at the Maggie Dixon Classic: DePaul opens its season against Harvard… Blue Demons won the series’ only meeting, 97-52 at McGrath-Phillips Arena in 2005… DePaul is 7-0 all-time against school’s from the Ivy League and is scheduled to play Dartmouth on Dec. 16 at McGrath-Phillips Arena… on Saturday, DePaul will play either Cal Poly Duquesne… a meeting with Cal Poly would mark the first ever series meeting between the two programs… the Mustangs are coming off a Big West Conference Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance… Cal Poly was selected to as the Big West Preseason favorites… Cal Poly is under the direction of Illinois high school legend Faith Mimnaugh… Mimnaugh played and coach at Elk Grove Village High School… DePaul and Duquesne could meet for the first time since 1998, and Duquesne has won both the previous two meetings…  Duquesne was picked to finished third in the Atlantic 10… Wumi Agunbiade and Orsi Szecsi were both selected to the A-10’s preseason all-conference team… Duquesne is under the direction of first year head coach Dan Burt.

About the Maggie Dixon Classic: Formerly known as the DePaul Invitational, the Maggie Dixon Classic was renamed in 2009 and honors former Blue Demon assistant coach Maggie Dixon, who died on April 6, 2006 of an arrhythmia. Dixon’s tragic death came three weeks after concluding her first season as the head coach at Army which saw the Black Knights win the Patriot League Championship and make the program’s first trip to the NCAA Championship.  

The Classic is the third tournament to be named after the former Blue Demon assistant and Army head coach.  Jamie Dixon, the head men’s basketball coach at Pittsburgh and Dixon’s older brother hosts a tournament at Madison Square Garden while San Diego, Dixon’s alma mater, also hosts a tournament in the late coach’s name.

Preseason Favorites: DePaul was picked first in the BIG EAST Conference preseason poll for the first time since joining the league in 2005-06.  The last time DePaul was picked to win its conference in the preseason was in 2004 when it was selected to win Conference USA.  That same year was the last time a DePaul player -- Khara Smith -- was chosen as the Preseason Conference Player of the Year.

High on Hrynko:  Brittany Hrynko was selected as the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.  Hrynko was a first-team all BIG EAST selection as a sophomore and was the league’s Co-Most Improved Player a season ago.  Hrynko enters the season with 852 career points (12.7 ppg) and 293 assists (4.4 apg).  She also has  140 career 3-pointers and 129 steals.

Returning Three: The Blue Demons return three starters -- Chanise Jenkins, Jasmine Penny and Hrynko.  The trio accounted for 81.4 (57.6 ppg) percent of the team’s scoring last season.

Beyond the Arc: Perimeter shooting should be a team strength as Megan Podkowa (20), Megan Rogowski (37), Jenkins (44) and Hrynko (82) combined for 183 of the team’ 228 made three-pointers last season.

Home Court Advantage: After a 15-2 season record at home last year, the Blue Demons continue to make McGrath-Phillips Arena one of the toughest places to play in the country. Overall, DePaul sports a 163-25 all-time record on its home floor – good for an 86.7 winning percentage which is the eighth-highest winning percentage among active Division I arenas.

Looking for 1,000: Penny and Hrynko both enter the season well within striking distance of 1,000 career points. Whenever either reaches the plateau, they will be the 29th and 30th 1,000-point scorers in DePaul women’s basketball history. Penny enters the season with 849 career points, while Hrynko has tallied 852 career points. At their current career averages, Hrynko would reach the scoring milestone in the season’s 12th game. By the same measure, Penny would be on track to join her in the season’s 15th game.

Finding the Open Player:  As a team, DePaul racked up assists at an elite level in 2012-13 with 16.9 per game – that mark ranked third in the BIG EAST and ninth in the nation.