The DePaul Blue Demons host the Northwestern Wildcats in the third of their three games in seven days. Northwestern is also the first of three straight games for the Blue Demons against teams from the Big Ten Conference. DePaul plays Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 16 and at Purdue on Dec. 21.
The current portion of the schedule has DePaul playing five schools from the state of Illinois. The Blue Demons started the stretch with two victories last week against Southern and Northern Illinois. The Blue Demons host Northwestern tonight and play Illinois at the United Center (Dec. 16) before wrapping up the state schedule at Illinois-Chicago on Dec. 23. The only non-Illinois game will be Dec. 21 at Purdue.
Looking at the Blue Demons
DePaul enters tonight's game at 3-3 after winning the last two games against Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. Two of the Blue Demons' three losses have come to opponents ranked in the top 10. Second-ranked Tennessee defeated DePaul to open the season and the Blue Demons fell to Iowa State on Dec. 2.
Preseason All-Conference USA selection Lenae Williams leads DePaul with 18.2 points per game followed by Candis Blankson (12.3 ppg) and Briana Fitzgerald (8.7 ppg).
Fitzgerald leads DePaul with 34 rebounds in the first six games while Jamie Lewis has pulled down 30 boards.
As a team, the Blue Demons are averaging 74.2 points per game while allowing 68.3 points. They are averaging 17.3 assists per game and just under 10 steals per contest.
DePaul is winning their games by an average of 32 points while on the losing side, the margin is 20.3 points per game.
The Blue Demons need just seven wins for the 450th victory in the program's history. With three more DePaul wins, head coach Doug Bruno will reach the 250-win plateau.
Against the Big Ten
Heading into the three-game stretch against Big Ten opponents, the Blue Demons are 21-43 all-time against the conference schools. DePaul's most common Big Ten opponent is Northwestern followed by Illinois. Under Doug Bruno, DePaul has lost 19 of 24 games against Big Ten schools.
DePaul vs. Big Ten Opponents
Looking at Northwestern
The Wildcats enter tonight's game at 3-3 after dropping two straight games to UNLV and Creighton. Northwestern has posted wins over Northern Illinois, Miami and Penn.
Freshman Emily Butler leads the team with 12.8 points per game followed by sophomore Leslie Dolland at 10.3 ppg. Dolland also leads the Wildcats with 8.0 rebounds per game. As a team, Northwestern is averaging 66.8 points per game while giving up 72.0 ppg.
Head coach June Olkowski is in her second season at Northwestern and owns a career record of 158-162 over 12 seasons. She also had prior stops at Arizona and Butler before moving to Evanston.
Tuesday marks the 18th all-time matchup between the Blue Demons and Wildcats. The Blue Demons won last year's meeting in Evanston, 74-42. Northwestern won the first nine meetings between the two teams while the Blue Demons and Wildcats have split the last eight meetings.
Over the Years
|First Meeting |
|Jan. 24, 1974
|In Chicago |
|NU leads 4-2
|In Evanston |
|NU leads 2-7
|At A Neutral Site|
|NU leads 0-2
|Last DePaul win|
|Dec. 13, 1999
|74-42 in Evanston
|Last NU win|
|Nov. 20, 1998
|62-61 in Chicago
|Jan. 1, 1977 in Chicago
|Nov. 20, 1998 in Chicago
Last 10 Meetings
Noting the Blue Demons Lenae Williams missed her first free throw in 28 attempts dating back to the first half of DePaul's game against South Florida in last year's Conference USA Tournament. She made 27 straight free shots before missing on Saturday against Northern Illinois. She is now 18-for-19 on the season.
Jamie Lewis has posted two double-figure rebound games this year after posting a career-high of nine on two occasions last year.
Jamie Smith scored a season-high 12 points at Southern Illinois after scoring a total of three points in the previous three games.
Sylvia Blakeslee has started 63 straight games.
Candis Blankson has tallied 16 points in three straight games.
DePaul's bench has outscored opponent's, 185-118, over the first six games.
Molly Watson moved into fifth on the all-time assist list against Iowa State. With four assists against Northern Illinois, she now has a career total of 335. Ahead of Watson is Tammy Williams with 337 career assists. Watson also ranks fifth with 113 three-pointers and 327 three-point field goal attempts.
Lenae Williams needs just nine three-pointers for the all-time DePaul record. The sharpshooter also ranks second in career three-point attempts (481) and fourth in three-point shooting percentage (.366). With 37 more treys, she will set the Conference USA career mark.
In the annual Conference USA preseason coach's poll, the Blue Demons were picked as the favorite of the American Division ahead of Marquette. DePaul junior Lenae Williams was one of five players selected to the league's preseason all-conference team.
C-USA Preseason Coach's Poll
American Division, National Division
|1. DePaul |
|2. Marquette |
|3. Cincinnati |
|4. Charlotte |
|4. Southern Miss
|5. Louisville |
|6. Saint Louis |
|6. South Florida
Preseason All-Conference Team
Deanna Jackson - UAB (Player of the Year)
Janell Burse - Tulane
Lenae Williams - DePaul
Tiffany Adkins - Memphis
Tonya Phifer - Charlotte
In The Classroom
The Blue Demons were honored by Conference USA prior to the season for having the highest team GPA during the 1999-2000 school year. DePaul topped the league with a team GPA of 3.17. The women's basketball team was one of five Blue Demon teams to receive league academic honors.
Individually, Stacy Krumrei, Jamie Smith and Molly Watson received the Conference USA Academic Medal of Honor for having a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better. Those three were joined on the league's Academic Honor Roll by Sylvia Blakeslee, Candis Blankson, Yolanda Lewis, Jeanene Novick and Laura Sobieszczyk.
New Places, New Faces
The DePaul basketball program, as well as the athletic department, moved across the street into the DePaul Athletic Center last spring. The state-of-the-art facility houses everything the basketball program needs from training facilities to coach's offices.
During the summer, Andre Wakefield and Maggie Dixon joined the DePaul coaching staff. Wakefield, a former Loyola-Chicago and NBA player, returns to collegiate basketball for the first time since coaching at his alma mater from 1980-89. Maggie Dixon, the director of basketball operations, comes to Chicago after playing at the University of San Diego from 1995-99.
Since 1988-89, DePaul has annually played one of the toughest schedules in the nation and this season will be no different. Eleven of DePaul's 2000-01 games (among nine opponents) will be played against teams that played in the postseason last year.
DePaul started the season in Knoxville and played Iowa State last Saturday. The Blue Demons travel to Purdue make their first appearance at the United Center in Chicago when they play Illinois.
Five Conference USA opponents are receiving votes in either the AP or ESPN/USA Today poll.
2000-01 Opponents in the Polls
|Iowa State |
AP Votes: UAB, Southern Miss, Tulane, Memphis, Illinois
ESPN/USA Today Votes: UAB, Memphis, Illinois, Tulane
Returning To The Dance
The Blue Demons are looking to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1996-97 season. From 1989-97, DePaul made seven trips to the "Big Dance" in eight seasons.
DePaul leads Conference USA programs with 12 postseason tournament appearances (7 NCAA and 5 WNIT). Since Doug Bruno's return to DePaul in 1988-89, the Blue Demons have played extra basketball nine times.