Four in Double Figures Lead No. 17/25 DePaul Past Central Michigan
CHICAGO -- Sophomore Keisha Hampton led the No. 17/25 DePaul women’s basketball team to an 86-76 win over Central Michigan on Friday at McGrath Arena. The game was the season opener for both teams.
It was no surprise when both teams, who averaged over 70 points per game last season, came out running. Hampton led four DePaul players in double-digits with a career-high 23 points which included a perfect 7-for-7 effort from the free throw line. The sophomore also grabbed a team-high 11 boards for her fourth career double-double. Senior Deirdre Naughton scored 19, while junior Sam Quigley followed with 17 and junior Jennifer Juergens rounded out the double-digit scoring with 12 points and added 10 rebounds.
Central Michigan (0-1) scored the first points of the game on Britni Houghton’s layup 44 seconds into the contest. The Chippewas took an 8-4 advantage but jumper by Juergens and a 3-pointer from Quigley gave the Blue Demons a 9-8 lead.
DePaul’s stingy defense combined with four points from Katherine Harry and a jumper by Naughton pushed DePaul to a 15-7 lead with 14:03 left in the half.
The Chippewas battled and used a 14-4 run to take a 21-19 lead on Shonda Long’s 3-pointer.
Wasting no time Hampton’s dribble-drive from the right side of key drew a foul from CMU’s Kaihla Szunko. The aggressive sophomore was able to complete the three-point-play and give the Blue Demons a 22-21 lead with 7:15 left in the half.
Following Hampton’s three-point-play Central Michigan used 3-pointer by Laura Baker and a free throw by Long to take a 25-22 advantage.
Down three, Quigley and Naughton drove into the lane on back-to-back possessions to give the Blue Demons a 26-25 lead with 6:03 left in the half.
Over the next five minutes the Blue Demons’ lead ballooned to 39-32 however but with 68 ticks left in the half, Long went to work for the Chippewas. Long scored five points in the final minute and trimmed DePaul’s lead to four points as the Blue Demons went to the locker room with a 41-37 lead.
The second half saw the Blue Demons’ offense explode as it jumped to its first double-digit lead of the game, 53-43 on Quigley’s break away layup with 15:47 left in the game.
Up 80-74 with 2:38 left to play, the Blue Demons combined to make all six of their last free throw attempts. DePaul combined for a 17-for-18 effort from the charity stripe, its best effort since a 22-for-23 showing against Notre Dame during the 2006-07 season.
Long led all players with 30 points while Houghton added 18 for CMU.
The Blue Demons return to the court on Sunday against North Dakota State on Sunday at McGrath Arena. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Lincoln Park.
Notes: Keisha Hampton’s 23 points set a new career-high; her previous high was 22 against Marquette on Feb. 28, 2009... Hampton’s 23 points coupled with 11 rebounds counted as her fourth career double-double... DePaul's 17-for-18 (.944) team effort from the free throw line was the best showing since the 22-23 (.957) showing versus Notre Dame on Mar. 3, 2007... DePaul outscored CMU in the paint 48-18... Jennifer Juergens made her DePaul debut with a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds... DePaul made three 3-pointers to run its streak to 140 games with a 3-pointer... Deirdre Naughton scored 19 points tonight and is now one point away from her 1,000 career point in a Blue Demon uniform… DePaul now leads the all-time series with Central Michigan 3-1 and is 51-12 against schools from the MAC.