Blue Demons Improve to 5-0
WORCESTER, Mass. – With a blizzard blowing snow outside the Hart Center, the Blue Demons erased an 11-point halftime deficit and blew past the Holy Cross Crusaders, 86-73, on Saturday night inside the Hart Center. Cousins Khara and Charlene Smith led the way for DePaul, combining for 48 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and eight steals.
DePaul (5-0) took an early 12-5 lead on a Sarah Kustok three-pointer only to see the Crusaders knot the game at 14-14 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
A Charlene Smith lay-up put DePaul back up by six at 24-18, but the Blue Demon offense went into a blizzard of its own for the remainder of the half. Over the final 8:22 of the first stanza, Holy Cross (3-4) outscored DePaul, 22-5, and took a 40-29 lead at the break.
Coming out of the intermission, DePaul scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second half to come within one point. Back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Charlene Smith and Jenni Dant pulled the Blue Demons to 42-41 just four minutes into the second half.
Just over a minute later, another steal and lay-up by Charlene Smith put DePaul ahead, 47-46, and the Blue Demons wouldn’t trail for the rest of the game.
Holy Cross stayed within four points until back-to-back three-pointers by Kustok and Dant started an 11-0 run that finished with a Khara Smith lay-up to give the Blue Demons a commanding 72-59 advantage with just over seven minutes left in the game.
The lead grew to as high as 15 points, but was never less than 11. DePaul outscored Holy Cross, 57-33, for the 86-73 final. The Blue Demons continued their strong defense in 2003 with 39 points off 27 Holy Cross turnovers.
Khara Smith finished the game with her fourth double-double of year on career high’s of 26 points and 16 rebounds. Charlene Smith tallied at least 19 points for the third straight game with 22 to go along with four assists and four steals. Dant and Kustok chipped in 12 points each and Dant finished with a game-high five steals.
With the win, the Blue Demons are off to the best start since 1996-97 at 5-0. The club aims for their sixth win on Wednesday at Manhattan. Tipoff with the Jaspers is set for 7 p.m. EST.