Blue Demons Host No 2. Lady Vols

DePaul (6-4) vs. No. 2 Tennessee (7-0)
DePaul Athletic Center - Chicago, Illinois
Dec. 19, 2001 - 7 p.m.

Click here for the audio broadcast.  This takes you to Tennessee's site and the link for audio is on the right side of the page.

Nothing But the Best
The DePaul women's basketball team plays the second of two games in three days against a pair of teams ranked in the top seven in the nation.  DePaul takes on second-ranked Tennessee on Wednesday evening after falling to No. 7 Purdue, 63-61, on Monday night.

Tonight's opponent, Tennessee, enters the game undefeated with a 7-0 record following their 68-62 win at Stanford on Sunday.  The Blue Demons stand at 6-4 and have dropped two straight games to teams in the top 25.

Following the Tennessee game, the Blue Demons go on the road for five straight games.  The next contest at the DePaul Athletic Center will be Jan. 18 when the Memphis Tigers come to Chicago.

Making Some National Noise
In the recent NCAA statistical rankings, DePaul sharpshooter Lenae Williams was ranked among the national scoring and three-point leaders.  The senior forward is second in the country with a 26.0 scoring average and also holds the top two single-game efforts this season.  Conference USA foe Deanna Jackson of UAB leads the country with a 28.1 average.  Williams' 260 total points leads all scorers in NCAA Division I.  Entering tonight's game against No. 2 Tennessee she is averaging 34.5 points per game against teams in the top 10.

Williams' 41-point outburst at No. 6 Iowa State on Nov. 21 is tied for the single-game high this season with George Mason's Laura Kooij and Tennessee Tech's Janet Holt.  Her 39-point total against Illinois on Dec. 4 is the second-highest total this season along with Austin Peay's Brooke Armistead and Mississippi State's Latoya Thomas.

Her eight three's at Iowa State is tied for the nation's single-game high with five other players.  She is also ranked 10th in the country with 3.2 three-pointers per game.  She has dropped in 32 in DePaul's 10 games this season.

As a team, the Blue Demons are seventh with 8.1 three's per game and 34th with a .382 team three-point field goal percentage.

The Friendly Confines
In their second season playing at the DePaul Athletic Center, the Blue Demons hold a 16-3 home-court record.  The program won over 75 percent of their home games in 26 seasons across the street at Alumni Hall.

This season opened with a pair of victories in the Moran Realty Classic followed by wins over Toledo and Illinois.  A year ago, DePaul was 12-2 with both loses coming in overtime games.  The lone loss this season came Monday night against No. 7 Purdue.  That loss also snapped the Blue Demons' 11-game DePaul Athletic Center winning streak.

In Conference USA action, Memphis, Saint Louis, Southern Miss and Tulane come to Chicago in January.  February home games include Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette.  The 2002 Conference USA Tournament will be at the DePaul Athletic Center, Mar. 1-4.

Looking at the Blue Demons
The Blue Demons have received votes in either the AP or USA Today/ESPN poll six of the seven weeks this season... DePaul has dropped two straight after winning four straight... the Blue Demons are just one of two Conference USA programs to play at least three ranked opponents so far this season (Marquette is the other)... no other league school has played more than one... DePaul finished the Loyola game on Nov. 29 with just five players as two of the seven available fouled out... the Blue Demons have won 12 consecutive games against teams from the state of Illinois and 19 of the last 20... all four loses this season are to teams ranked in the top 25 at gametime and two are to top seven programs... Lenae Williams' 41 points against then-No. 6 Iowa State was a career-high and the second-highest single-game total in school history... the team set new program marks with 14 three's on 37 attempts... Williams tied her own school record with eight treys against the Cyclones... Jamie Smith is now fifth all-time at DePaul with 72 career blocked shots... DePaul opened the season by winning the Moran Realty Classic... the Blue Demons are now 16-3 (.842) all-time at the DePaul Athletic Center... the Blue Demons are averaging 8.1 three-point field goals per game while opponents have just 2.6... they are being outrebounded by 4.5 boards per contest.

The Tennessee Series
Tennessee leads the all-time series, 11-0.  Tonight's game marks the 12th straight season that the two schools have played.  In Chicago, the Lady Vols are 5-0 against the Blue Demons.  A year ago, Tennessee won, 94-52, in Knoxville.

Second-ranked Tennessee enters tonight's contest with a 7-0 record.  They have been second behind Connecticut since the beginning of the season.  Through seven games, the Lady Vols are winning by an average of 25.4 points per game.

Head coach Pat Summitt is in her 28th season with Tennessee and has led the Lady Vols to six NCAA Championships.  Michelle Snow leads three players in double-figures with 15.0 points per game.  She is followed by Kara Lawson with 14.6 points and Gwen Jackson with 11.4 points per game.  Jackson leads the club with 7.6 rebounds per contest while Snow averages 6.7 boards per game.

Lenae Williams Picks Up C-USA Honor
DePaul senior forward Lenae Williams was named the Conference USA Co-Player of the Week after leading the Blue Demons to three wins over Northwestern, Loyola-Chicago and Toledo.  The senior forward continued her strong start to the 2001-02 campaign by averaging 28 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game in those three contests.  Houston's Chandi Jones joined Williams in the league's weekly honor.

12 Straight Against the State
The Blue Demons have won 12 consecutive games against opponents from the state of Illinois over the last three seasons.  This month, DePaul knocked off Illinois after defeating Northwestern and Loyola in November.  The final Illinois game this season will be on Dec. 22 at Northern Illinois.  A year ago, the club went a perfect 6-0 against state programs.

DePaul's last loss came on Dec. 10, 1999, when Illinois posted a 74-64 win over the Blue Demons in Champaign.

In addition to winning 12 consecutive games, DePaul has also won 19 of the last 20 contests with state schools.  Over the stretch of 20 games, DePaul has defeated Loyola four times and Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern and Northern Illinois three times each.  They have also knocked off Southern Ilinois twice and Chicago State once.

Preseason Picks
In the annual Conference USA preseason poll, the Blue Demons were picked to finish seventh.  This season, C-USA will have one 14-team division instead of the American and National divisions as in previous years.

Senior forward Lenae Williams was one of six players named preseason All-Conference USA.  She alse earned the honor prior to last seaason.

2001-02 C-USA Preseason Poll
1. Tulane
2. Louisville
3. TCU
4. Cincinnati
5. Houston
6. UAB
7. DePaul
8. Marquette
9. Memphis
10. Southern Miss
11. Charlotte
12. Saint Louis
13. East Carolina
14. South Florida

Preseason All-Conference Team
*Deanna Jackson – UAB, Sr., F
Chandi Jones – Houston, So., G/F
Valerie King – Cincinnati, So., G
Teana McKiver – Tulane, Jr., C
Sara Nord – Louisivlle, So., G
Lenae Williams – DePaul, Sr., F
* Preseason Player of the Year

Strength of Schedule
Doug Bruno calls this year's schedule the toughest ever at DePaul and calls it the toughest in the midwest.  A glance at the '01-02 slate reveals three of the last four national champions, the two finalists from a year ago and 15 teams that played in the postseason last March.

The current top 25's have a DePaul flavor as four opponents from the latest AP and USA Today/ESPN polls are featured.  A total of 10 opponents are either ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll or receiving votes for the top 25.

Giving to Charity
Through the first 10 games of this season, DePaul is a combined 121-169 (.716) from the free throw line while Lenae Williams has made 44-of-52 (.846) free attempts.  Against Northwestern, she was a perfect 10-for-10.

Last season, the Blue Demons led Conference USA with a .716 overall mark from the free throw line.  In league play, DePaul shot .733 and were 241-326 (.739) over their last 19 games.  Williams ranked second in the league with an .827 (86-104) percentage from the stripe.

Regional Recognition
Prior to the start of the season, ranked DePaul's 2001-02 schedule as the toughest in the Midwest.  The slate features three teams currently in the AP top 10 and five teams in the ESPN/USA Today top 25.  In addition to the team recognition, freshman guard Jenni Dant was listed as one of the "Five New Faces to Watch" in the region and was the only player of the five not from either the Big Ten or Big 12 conferences.

True Student-Athletes
Earlier this year, the Blue Demons were rewarded for their hard work in the classroom by being named to the WBCA Academic Top 25.  The Blue Demons were ranked in the top 20 for the second time in the last three seasons.  DePaul finished 13th in NCAA Division I basketball after placing 20th following the 1998-99 season.  DePaul and UW-Green Bay were the only two schools that played in the postseason last season.  The Blue Demons reached the second round of the WNIT while the Phoenix lost in the WNIT first round.

Looking Ahead
DePaul signed four players to a National Letter of Intent in the early signing period.  Three of the newcomers next season are from the Chicago area and a fourth is Doug Bruno's first signee from the state of New York.  The class features four forwards to go along with transfer guards Ashley Luke and Charlene Smith.  Lauren Levine, Shiesha McCollum, Casmir Patterson and Maureen Simon join Luke and Smith, who become eligible after sitting out this season.



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