No. 19/18 women's hoops opens regular season with 96-68 win over St. Mary's
Published: Friday, November 11, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The No. 19/18 DePaul Blue Demon women's basketball team started their regular season off in style, taking care of St. Mary's 96-68 on Friday evening in the second game of the Maggie Dixon Classic at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Head coach Doug Bruno started his twenty-sixth season at the helm with two key starters lost to graduation and three new starters in the lineup against the Gaels. The combinations he used seemed to work however, as six Blue Demons scored in double-figures, led by junior Anna Martin's 17 points on 7-9 shooting.
The guard from Lexington looked like the best player on the court when she was on it, making hustle plays on the defensive side of the ball as well as timely shots from all over the court.
"I tried to get off to a quick and efficient start with the team," Martin said, scoring 10 of the first 19 DePaul points. "And I think it's important that me and Keisha [Hampton] show the freshmen and show the team that we have energy to start the game."
That approach worked for the most part, as the Blue Demons went to halftime up 44-36. Although they were able to pull away in the second half by outshooting St. Mary's 58 percent to 37 percent, Bruno definitely saw the things that will need improvement as they advance into the season.
"We need inside-outside balance," Bruno admitted, also noting that the Blue Demons were "grossly outrebounded" by the Gaels (44-29). ‘We can't just be shooting threes."
The lack of balanced scoring might be due in part to the absence of Katherine Harry at the beginning of the game. Surprisingly, sophomore Jasmine Penny was in the starting lineup and the junior from Columbia, Miss. was on the bench. When asked about why he made that decision, Bruno was candid.
"I'm not sure about our lineup this year," he said pointing to Martin and senior Wooden Award candidate Keisha Hampton as the only two starters etched in stone. "I don't like to coach that way where we're changing our lineup every night, but it's the type of team that has the flexibility to do that. It's the player's job to make a play."
Deanna Ortiz was another of the new starters in the lineup and she did not disappoint as she chipped in 13 points on 5-8 shooting and 3-6 from three-point range. The team as a whole shot 47 percent (16-34) from behind the arc.
The other position of intrigue, with a starter gone from last season, is point guard. Two freshmen are being handed the keys to drive the team. Friday night, Chanise Jenkins, the starter, and Brittany Hrynko did what talented freshmen do: make good plays as well as some plays that show you why they are freshmen.
"They did a lot of great stuff and they did some things we need to improve on," Bruno said about Jenkins and Hrynko, who combined for 21 points on 7-18 shooting, seven rebounds, eight assists and five steals. They also committed six of the team's 18 turnovers. "They both made some excellent plays."
With Bruno admitting that the lineup will more than likely shift from game to game, Harry will get her chance because the coach acknowledges that she is a key to the team's success this season. She ended the game with four points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
"What I was really happy about with Katherine is that she stayed the course from an adversity point of view and allowed herself to have a very good couple minutes as we went down the stretch in the ballgame." Bruno said.
With the victory, the Blue Demons match their second-longest home winning streak in team history at 20 games. They look to go past that on Saturday night as they take on Samford in the championship game of the two-day, four-team Classic. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.