DePaul Takes on Tennessee This Weekend
CHICAGO - The DePaul women’s basketball team plays their second consecutive top 20 team on the road with a Sunday afternoon contest at Tennessee. The No. 15 Blue Demons dropped a 69-61 decision at No. 21/19 Purdue on Thursday and take on the No. 9/9 Lady Vols at 3 p.m. EST at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. The game is the second of six straight road games for DePaul to close the calender year of 2004.
DePaul enters the game at 6-1 following Thursday’s loss to the Boilermakers. The Blue Demons find themselves at No. 15 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches’ top 25. Tennessee, with a record of 4-2, stands at No. 9 in both polls.
The game can be heard live at www.depaulbluedemons.com. Jeff Friedman is in his fourth season on the headset for the Blue Demons and will describe at least 20 games this season on DePaul’s official athletics website. A 20-minute pre-game show precedes each broadcast and a post-game show wraps things up after every game.
Following Sunday’s game, the Blue Demons continue the six-game trip with a Wednesday night game at Northern Illinois. Tipoff in DeKalb, Ill. is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Roster Addition: Head coach Doug Bruno and his family added another member to the family roster as he became a grandfather on Wednesday morning. Fittingly with six sons, his first grandchild would be a boy, Jackson David, born to Doug’s oldest son, Bryan, and former DePaul women’s basketball player, Stacy. Stacy, formerly Krumrei, played for Doug from 1995-00.
Noting the Blue Demons: DePaul is averaging 94.1 points per game... the 659 total points through seven games are the highest in school history... as an AP-ranked team, the Blue Demons are 1-19 all-time when playing other AP-ranked teams... the 16 rebounds by Erin Carney against Loyola on Dec. 6 were the most by a freshman since Veronica Ross’ 17 boards at Cleveland State on Mar. 2, 1987... Carney, born May 9, 1986, was 10 months old when Ross accomplished the feat... Khara Smith has nearly posted a triple-double in two games this season... she totaled 23 points, 17 rebounds and seven steals against UW-Milwaukee and 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against USC... the last player to record a triple-double is Diana Vines with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 12 steals at Notre Dame on Jan. 24, 1989... Smith needs six points and two rebounds to become the sixth player in school history with 1,200 career points and 700 career rebounds... Jenni Dant is 33-of-41 (.805) from the charity stripe... dating back to last season (37 games), the team has scored at least 90 points in 16 games and owns a 29-8 record (.784)... DePaul has scored at least 50 points in a half seven times this season... at least four players have scored in double-figures in six of the seven games... it happened in 17 games in 2003-04... five players have reached double-figures twice... DePaul is victorious in 17 of the last 22 regular season C-USA games... over the last two-plus seasons, the Blue Demons are 33-1 at home with the lone loss coming in overtime to then-No. 2 Tennessee in December 2003... in those 34 games, DePaul is 31-1 at the DePaul Athletic Center and 2-0 at the Allstate Arena... the average margin of victory during that run is 25.1 points per game... the 96 points against Murray State was the program’s second-highest total for the season’s first game.
Checking on the Lady Vols: No. 9 Tennessee enters the game at 4-2 after dropping a 59-57 decision to Duke on Dec. 2. The Lady Vols have dropped two of their last three games, but both to a pair of top-10 ranked teams in Duke and Texas. Those losses sandwiched a 52-48 win over Temple on Nov. 28. Shanna Zolman and Shyra Ely lead the team with 11.2 and 11.0 points per game, respectively. Ely also has a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game while Zolman has 11 three-pointers. Head coach Pat Summitt is in her 31st season as head coach at Tennessee with a record of 856-169.
The Series: Sunday is 16th all-time meeting between the two teams with the Lady Vols holding a 15-0 advantage. A year ago at the DePaul Athletic Center, Tennessee came back and prevailed in overtime, 96-89. The two teams met again in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. The Lady Vols jumped out to a 50-24 lead at halftime and cruised to a 79-59 win in the first meeting between the two teams on a neutral court. Tennessee put six players in double-figures led by Zolman’s 18 points. Charlene Smith, Khara Smith and Ashley Luke finished with 13 points apiece to lead DePaul.
DePaul is 13-37 all-time against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Besides playing Tennessee, the program has not played another school from the SEC since an 89-67 win over Vanderbilt on Feb. 19, 1998.
Charlene Smith Out Indefinitely: DePaul guard Charlene Smith, who suffered an injury to her right knee early in Monday's game against Loyola-Chicago, is out indefinitely after an MRI on Tuesday revealed a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a sprained MCL (medial collateral ligament).
Further diagnosis and possible surgery will be determined at a later date. Smith was injured just 5:08 into game on Monday evening at the DePaul Athletic Center against Loyola-Chicago. Smith is averaging 11.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, and is a candidate for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award. The preseason All-Conference USA honoree started all six games this season after averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest in 30 starts as a junior.
Puttin’ It On the Board: The Blue Demons are keeping the scoreboard operators busy as they totaled 96, 99, 89, 118, 97 and 99 points in their first six games. Purdue held DePaul to 61 points in the Dec. 9 game. DePaul finished last season leading the nation in scoring with 84.4 points per game. Prior to the 69-61 defeat at Purdue, only UW-Milwaukee has held the Blue Demons under 96 points with an 89-67 DePaul win on Nov. 23.
A year ago, DePaul was held to less than 70 points just four times and were 1-3 in those games. Since the start of last season, the Blue Demons have scored at least 90 points in 16 games.
Nice November: DePaul’s 5-0 record in the first month of the season marked the highest victory total in school history for November. Only one other time in DePaul 31 season’s have the Blue Demons played more than five games on November. The 2001-02 season started with six November games that saw the team post a 4-2 record. All-time, the program is 39-16 in November.
Demon Doings: Notes following the 69-61 loss at Purdue on Dec. 9:
Jenni Dant Named C-USA Player of the Week: DePaul senior Jenni Dant was named the first Conference USA Player of the Week for the 2004-05 season. She was named MVP of the Moran Realty Classic as the Blue Demons knocked off Murray State and USC at the DePaul Athletic Center. Dant scored a career-high 29 points in the championship game of the tournament to lead the Blue Demons. She also added three steals and two rebounds against the Women of Troy while going 10-for-10 from the free throw line. It is the second time in her career and just the eighth time in school history that a player has gone perfect from the free throw line with at least 10 attempts. Dant was 12-of-12 last season at Northern Illinois. On Friday, the senior guard played just 21 minutes in the win over Murray State and collected nine points, five assists and three steals. She was also 2-of-2 from the free throw for a perfect 12-for-12 to start the season. It is the first time in her career that Dant has been named the C-USA Player of the Week.
Streaking: Dating back to last season and in some cases, the last couple of seasons, the Blue Demons have put together various streaks. Listed below are some current active streaks heading into Thursday’s game at Purdue:
Khara Smith Named to Wooden, Wade and Naismith Award Preseason Lists: DePaul junior Khara Smith has been named to the preseason lists for three of women’s basketball’s national player of the year awards. She is one of 30 players nominated for the Wooden Award and 31 student-athletes for the Wade Trophy. A year ago, Smith was one of 16 semifinalists for the inaugural Women’s Wooden Award. She is also one of 50 nominees for the Naismith Award. Smith was one of five players named a first team preseason All-American by Lindy’s and a second-teamer by Athlon Sports. She was joined on the Lindy’s first team by Seimone Augustus of LSU, Janel McCarville of Minnesota, Notre Dame’s Jacqueline Batteast and Kendra Wecker of Kansas State.
Sweet Home Chicago: The Blue Demons started the 2004-05 campaign with six straight home games at the DePaul Athletic Center. It was the second-longest homestand to start a season in the program’s history. The 1996-97 season started with eight consecutive home games that saw the Blue Demons post a 7-1 record. The 1985-86 season started with five straight home games and six of the first seven in Chicago.
Sudden Impact: Ranked by some as one of the top recruiting classes last year, DePaul’s three freshmen have made an immediate impact on the program. In their first seven games, the trio of Erin Carney, Allie Quigley and Caprice Smith have combined to average 26.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Quigley is third on the team with 13.4 points and tied for second with 20 assists while Smith is averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Carney has started all seven games for the Blue Demons and is second on the team with 7.7 rebounds per game to go with 7.0 points per contest. She tallied her first double-double against Loyola with 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Carney’s 16 boards were the most by a DePaul freshman since Veronica Ross’ 17 rebounds at Cleveland State on Mar. 2, 1987. Earlier this season, Quigley dropped in 21 points against USC for the first 20-point game by a DePaul rookie since Jenni Dant’s 22 points against Louisville on Feb. 15, 2002. It’s also the second freshman 20-point game since Lenae Williams’ 22-point effort at Houston on Jan. 24, 1999.
Home Cookin’: In four-plus seasons, the DePaul Athletic Center has proven itself as one of the toughest venues in the Midwest. The Blue Demons have posted a 52-8 record in the arena’s first 60 games. In their 31st season, the Blue Demons have an all-time home court record of 296-88 (.771). Over 26 seasons at Alumni Hall, the women’s basketball program won over 75 percent of their games with a 242-80 all-time record. At the Allstate Arena, the women’s program has posted an all-time record of 20-4.
In 30 seasons of women’s basketball at DePaul University there have been 13 streaks of at least 10 straight home victories. The longest streak was a 20-game run from Feb. 4, 1978 to Feb. 19, 1979. The 18-gamer that ended last season was the second-longest streak in school history followed by a 15-game home court win streak from Mar. 5, 1994 to Feb. 26, 1995. Over the last two years, the team is 33-1 at home with the lone loss coming in overtime to Tennessee on Dec. 17, 2003. Maybe more impressive is that the Blue Demons average margin of victory during the run is 25.1 points per game.
The current 15-game winning streak is the 13th in school history of at least 10 games. The win on Monday over Loyola created just the fourth home streak in school history of at least 15 games and was DePaul’s 31st straight home victory over an unranked opponent. During the 31-game streak over unranked opponents, there have been 29 victories at the DePaul Athletic Center and two wins at the Allstate Arena. Tulane handed DePaul their last home loss to an unranked team on Mar. 2, 2002, with a 88-83 decision in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament at the DePaul Athletic Center.
Taking Advantage From Beyond the Arc: The DePaul women’s basketball program has turned the three-point field goal into a potent offensive weapon. As a team, DePaul has made at least one three-pointer in 244 consecutive games. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, the club has knocked down 732 trifectas compared to just 374 for the opposition. The Blue Demons set new single-season records with 230 in 2001-02 and 233 in 2002-03. Over the last five years, the team has totaled at least 200 three-pointers in each season.
In seven games this season, the Blue Demons have outscored their opponents by 69 points from three-point range (9.9 ppg). DePaul is 54-137 (.394) from behind the arc while opponents are 31-112 (.277). The squad averaged 7.7 three’s per game while the opposition makes 4.4 treys per contest.
Giving to Charity: Along with the accuracy from behind the arc, the Blue Demons also rank among the best in Conference USA from the free throw line. Over the last four seasons, DePaul finished either first or second in the league in free throw percentage. A year ago, the Blue Demons were second with a .724 (480-663) team mark. The squad finished the 2002-03 campaign ranked second with a .718 (425-592) season percentage. Prior to finishing second, DePaul was a combined 384-520 (.738) from the free throw line in 2001-02 to rank first among Conference USA schools for the second straight season.
Through seven games in 2004, the team is shooting .732 from the line. DePaul is a combined 115-of-157 from the charity stripe. The Blue Demons’ 115 made free throws are 20 less than the opponent’s combined 135 attempts. Currently, the team is third in Conference USA behind Southern Miss and Louisville. The Cardinals lead the league with a .763 team free throw percentage.
Preseason Picks: Prior to the start of the season, the Conference USA coaches picked the Blue Demons to win the C-USA Championship. The coaches also named junior forward Khara Smith the league’s preseason Player of the Year. DePaul was followed by TCU, Houston, Louisville and Marquette.
Senior Charlene Smith joined her cousin on the league’s preseason All-Conference team after earning second team All-CUSA honors after last season. The Smith’s were joined by Houston’s Sancho Lyttle, Sandora Irvin of TCU, Jazz Covington from Louisville and Jessica Dickson of USF.
Against the State: DePaul has seen recent success against opponents from the state of Illinois. Over the last 27 games against Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Loyola-Chicago, Northern Illinois, Northwestern and Southern Illinois, the Blue Demons have posted 26 victories. In 2004-05 against Northwestern, Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, the club was a perfect 5-0. This season, the club tallied wins over Northwestern, Illinois-Chicago and Loyola-Chicago. Their final regular season game against an Illinois opponent is Dec. 15 at Northern Illinois.
The Illini snapped a 14-game winning streak against state opponents for DePaul with the 71-67 decision on Dec. 4, 2002. In addition to the 14-game streak ended during the 2002-03 season, DePaul has won 32 of the last 34 games against state opponents. Currently, the Blue Demons have 12 straight wins over Illinois schools following the victories over Northwestern, UIC and Loyola-Chicago.
Recapping the Moran Realty Classic: The Blue Demons captured their fourth straight Moran Realty Classic title with wins over Murray State and Southern California. DePaul opened the tournament with a 96-58 win over the Racers and a 99-77 victory over USC in the championship game. Jenni Dant was named tournament MVP after a career-high 29 points in the championship game. She was joined by teammates Allie Quigley and Khara Smith on the All-Tournament team.
Preseason Picks, Part II: The DePaul women’s basketball team is picked among the nation’s top 25 in various preseason publications.
For the second straight year, DePaul is ranked in the Athlon Sports preseason top 25. After being ranked No. 18 before last season, the Blue Demons find themselves at No. 20 this year. The Blue Demons are making their first preseason top 25 appearance in Lindy’s at No. 24. DePaul is the lone C-USA school in the top 25. The magazine picks Tennessee first and Purdue at No. 23. The Blue Demons will play at those two schools in a span of four days in December. DePaul traveled to Purdue on Dec. 9 and goes to Tennessee on Dec. 12. Athlon Sports had the Lady Vols ranked No. 5 and the Boilermakers at preseason No. 16.
TV Time: As always, the DePaul women’s basketball program will be featured multiple times on national television. This season, the Blue Demons are scheduled for at least five televised games. They will be on the ESPN Network twice with games at Marquette on Jan. 9 and against TCU on Feb. 13. FSN Chicago is set to televise the Jan. 30 game against USF at the DePaul Athletic Center. The C-USA TV Network will televise the regular-season finale on Feb. 27 against Marquette. The Blue Demons are just one of 12 women’s basketball programs in the country scheduled to appear on the ESPN network multiple times this season.
Nothing but the Best: The 2004-05 schedule features 12 possible opponents that played in the postseason a year ago. Among the dozen are six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last March. The Blue Demons take on Purdue, Tennessee and Valparaiso in non-conference action while playing Conference USA opponents Houston, Marquette and TCU. A year ago, Conference USA sent nine teams to postseason action. Houston, Marquette and TCU joined the Blue Demons in the NCAA Tournament while Charlotte, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis and USF played in the WNIT. A potential opponent at the Blue Sky Classic at Dartmouth is WNIT semifinalist Richmond.
Final C-USA Season: The 2004-05 season is the 10th and final campaign for the Blue Demons in Conference USA. DePaul enters the BIG EAST Conference beginning next season with fellow C-USA members Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and USF. The 16-team lineup for the 2005-06 BIG EAST consists of Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, USF, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. The recently approved scheduling format consists of each team playing each opponent once with one repeat opponent. The top 12 teams qualify for the BIG EAST Tournament at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn. BIG EAST women’s teams have won the last five NCAA titles.
Looking Ahead: The DePaul coaching staff signed Erin Cattell to a National Letter of Intent during the fall signing period. She is the first recruit of the BIG EAST Conference era of women's basketball at DePaul. Cattell, a 6-1 forward, led Sandburg High School, to a 23-10 record as a junior. She averaged just over 14 points with seven rebounds per game during the 2003-04 campaign while shooting over 85 percent from the free throw line. The Orland Park, Ill., native was named a third team All-State honoree by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and earned All-Area honors from the Chicago Sun-Times.