Blue Demons Top Salukis in Season-Opener
CARBONDALE, Ill. After sitting out a season as transfers, Deirdre Naughton and Natasha Williams immediately made their presence felt as DePaul defeated Southern Illinois, 78-63, in the season-opener on Saturday night. Williams nearly put together the first DePaul triple-double since 1989 while Naughton scored 23 points to go along with Allie Quigley’s game-high 25 points.
DePaul (1-0) showed no signs of wear for the first road game of the season as the Blue Demons sank eight of their first 10 attempts to build a 18-5 lead.
The Salukis closed the deficit to seven points at 27-20 on an Erica Smith free throw, but Taylor Pikes and Missy Mitidiero hit buckets to push the advantage back to double-figures. Quigley hit the final basket of the first half with a three-pointer to give the Blue Demons a 42-33 advantage at halftime.
Williams gathered a rebound off her own miss and put it back in to give DePaul its first 20-point lead with just over 15 minutes left in the game. The lead fluctuated between 14-20 points over the next 12 minutes before Southern Illinois (0-1) trailed by 11 on a Smith jumper with 3:29 left. The Blue Demons answered with a China Threatt three-pointer and a Mitidiero jumper to regain a 75-59 lead.
Quigley added five assists and two steals to go along with the 25 points. Williams finished the night with 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots while Naughton totaled 23 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Naughton went 5-for-7 from the behind the arc as the Blue Demons totaled eight three’s in the game.
Smith led the Salukis with 18 points while Tanaeya Worden added 17 points.
DePaul opens the home schedule next weekend with the annual DePaul Invitational. Florida International and Florida State come to Chicago for the three-day event at McGrath Arena.
Game Notes: DePaul is now 25-9 all-time in season-openers... the Blue Demons are 6-5 when opening the season on the road... Natasha Williams nearly put together the first triple-double by a DePaul player since Diana Vines in 1989... Vines totaled 23 points, 12 steals and 11 rebounds at Notre Dame on Jan. 24, 1989 (570 games)... the game was No. 625 for Doug Bruno at DePaul... he now needs five more wins for 400 all-time at DePaul... the Blue Demons leads the series, 7-3, and have won six straight meetings.