Pharos-Tribune

March 25, 2014

DePaul women going to Sweet 16

Penny nets 11 points for Blue Demons.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pharos-Tribune

---- — DePaul kept taking the ball from Duke with its intense press, and answering seemingly every big Blue Devils bucket with a 3-pointer.

That energy and efficiency sent the Blue Demons into the second weekend of the NCAA women’s tournament.

DePaul upset Duke 74-65 on Monday night at Durham, N.C., in the second round after hitting a season-high 14 3-pointers.

Seven of them came immediately after baskets by the Blue Devils.

“We have the greenish green light,” guard Brittany Hrynko said. “He doesn’t mind us taking 3s. He said as long as we take them, we have to defend and rebound.’”

Megan Rogowski scored 22 points with six 3s, Megan Podkowa added 18 points and Hrynko had 14 for the seventh-seeded Blue Demons (29-6).

“It has to absolutely be the biggest win for this group of young women this season,” coach Doug Bruno said of a team that has won 18 of 19.

They earned their third appearance in the round of 16 by hitting those 3s and forcing second-seeded but injury-depleted Duke into 21 turnovers with their high-pressure defense.

DePaul will play the James Madison-Texas A&M winner on Saturday in the Lincoln Regional semifinals.

Elizabeth Williams scored 12 points and blocked seven shots. Seniors Haley Peters and Tricia Liston each added 11 in their final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke (28-7) led for only 12 seconds and became the first top-four seed to lose in the tournament.

The Blue Devils — who made four straight appearances in the regional finals — became the first No. 2 seed to lose this early since Xavier lost to Louisville in 2011.

“They were on top of our ball handlers, and we didn’t handle it very well,” Peters said. “We just got a little bit rattled, I think, by how aggressive and how much pressure they put on us.”

Logansport’s Jasmine Penny added 11 points for DePaul. The Big East champs were coming off a 104-100 win over Oklahoma in the first round, the highest-scoring regulation game in tournament history.

They joined Connecticut, Notre Dame and North Carolina as teams to come into Cameron this year and beat the Blue Devils.

They won this one with defense, using relentless pressure to suffocate a Blue Devils team with no healthy point guards after season-ending knee injuries to senior Chelsea Gray and sophomore Alexis Jones.

“It takes a lot of energy and effort for those players to commit themselves to defend over 94 feet,” Bruno said. “They had the strength inside, and we had the strength with our quickness, and that’s what a pressure package is all about.”

Ka’lia Johnson scored 11 points and Oderah Chidom added 10 for Duke, which lost an NCAA tournament game at Cameron for the first time since 1996 and was denied its 17th regional semifinal berth in 18 years.

Duke had one last chance to make things interesting after Liston hit a layup after a steal to make it 67-60 with 1:45 left and Hrynko missed the front end of a one-and-one.

But Penny blocked Liston’s layup, and after the teams traded turnovers, DePaul bled the clock before Duke fouled Jessica January with 1:09 left and she hit a free throw.

Liston’s 3 went in and out, and Rogowski hit two free throws with 42.1 seconds left to push the lead back to 10.

Oklahoma State 73, Purdue 66

Brittney Martin had 20 points and 20 rebounds, leading Oklahoma State past Purdue 73-66 at Mackey Arena and into the Notre Dame Regional semifinals.

The Cowgirls (25-8) won their second straight, ending a 15-game stretch in which they had alternated wins and losses. It’s the first time since 2008 and the third time Oklahoma State has ever reached the NCAA’s Sweet 16. It will face top-seeded Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

And it came on a night the fifth-seeded Cowgirls lost star point guard Tiffany Bias for nearly 10 minutes in the second half with what appeared to be a left leg or foot injury.

Fourth-seed Purdue (22-9) was led by Whitney Bays with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

After Bias left, Purdue closed to 52-46, but the Cowgirls regained control with a 9-4 run and never let Purdue get close.

Beating Purdue on its home court, where the Boilermakers are now 20-8 all-time in NCAA tournament games, was a huge step for a program that lost its head coach and an assistant coach in a fatal plane crash 2½ year ago.

Since then, Oklahoma State has made steady progress — winning the 2012 WNIT title, taking a double-digit lead in the second half of last year’s second round game before losing at Duke and now finally returning to the NCAA regionals.

The Boilermakers, meanwhile, have lost four straight second-round games — three straight to No. 5 seeds with two of those coming at Mackey Arena. Senior guard Courtney Moses scored 11 points in her final game but did make two 3-pointers to break Katie Gearlds’ career record. Moses, who entered the game tied with Gearlds at 238, finished with 240.