Blue Demons Ready to Make a Run at No. 5 Kentucky on Thursday
Dec. 9, 2013
CHICAGO – Soon as Megan Rogowski heard the question, the DePaul guard let out a laugh.
How much fun would it be if the 6 p.m. game on Thursday against No. 5 Kentucky went into four overtimes?
“That would be awesome,” Rogowski said as the Blue Demons are Kentucky’s first opponent since the Wildcats' four-overtime victory over Baylor last week that garnered all kinds of media attention. “If we went four overtimes, it would be great for the game of women’s basketball and would be all over SportsCenter.
“It would be real exciting and a chance for us to show everyone how we play DePaul basketball. For us to go four overtimes with them would show we could keep up with one of the best teams in the country.
“It would be really tiring, and after all that work, you’d want to come away with the win.”
Blue Demon point guard Chanise Jenkins had her own perspective on the upcoming showdown at McGrath-Phillips Arena that will be televised on FOX Sports 1.
“I know that four-overtime game became a part of the history of women’s basketball,” Jenkins said. “Now, we have a chance to make a little history of our own.”
Kentucky (9-0) is the latest in a long and illustrious history of DePaul challenging the top teams in the country.
“We always try to play a very difficult nonconference schedule,” said Blue Demon coach Doug Bruno. “And, it’s tough on two fronts. We schedule nationally ranked opponents, and we also play the local rivals like Loyola, Northwestern, Illinois State. Because of the rivalries, those games are much more difficult than people think.
“Kentucky’s coaching staff has done a great job of collecting athletes. They go 12-deep and every one of them is a talented player with a chance to compete at the next level.
“They are quick and athletic basket-makers. They score the ball and know how to play the game. This is a really exceptional Division I basketball program.”
The Wildcats have six players averaging in double figures and have outscored their opponents by an average of nearly 30 points per game. Their full-court press is forcing nearly 27 turnovers a game while averaging more than 14 steals.
“They run, they shoot and they play great defense,” Bruno said. “They get in your grill for 40 minutes and try to turn that pressure into transition points. But, we play that way, too. So, I think it will be a high-scoring game.”
Rogowski heads up four double-figure scorers averaging 14.3 points a game. Jasmine Penny is scoring 14.2 a game while Megan Podkowa is averaging 12.8 and Brittany Hrynko 12 points. The Blue Demons are scoring nearly 86 points a game.
“Some teams have tried slowing the game down against them,” Bruno said. “I don’t know if it makes sense for us to do it.
“You coach and train your players to play a certain way, an up-tempo style. Can you put that in the deep freeze and play a different style for a single game?”
Jenkins starred at Young in high school and will face two of her former Dolphin teammates in playmaker Janee Thompson and guard Linnae Harper.
“It’s going to be real competitive out there on Thursday night,” Jenkins said. “I used to go against Janee in practice all the time.
“I know they are looking at this as a homecoming. But they are coming to my home.
“We have kept in touch. I contacted their families and told them to bring a toy for our toy drive.”
The women’s basketball team is conducting community-service holiday initiative on Thursday, collecting toys and games for children 3-5 years old that will be donated to the preschool students at St. Vincent de Paul Center and also distributed to victims of the Nov. 17 tornadoes that devastated central Illinois.
Fans attending the Kentucky game can deposit unwrapped toys and games in donation boxes located in the McGrath-Phillips Arena lobby. On non-game days, a donation box is located in the lobby of the Sullivan Athletics Center (2323 N. Sheffield) from 9a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“It’s going to be real exciting to play a top-five team on our home court,” Rogowski said. “We’ll be ready for this one."